Banro is working towards the goal of having over 95% of all management, professional, skilled and administrative jobs in its DRC operations filled by Congolese nationals.
As of December 31, 2014, the Company employed a total of 1,540 people directly in its operations in the DRC. Of these, 91.8% or 1,414 were Congolese citizens. This employment is predominately in skilled, capacity-building roles, including engineers, geologists, metallurgists, environmental specialists, technicians, accountants, human resource specialists, community relations officers and administrators.
The Company's Exploration department is the furthest advanced in hiring locally, with 60 Congolese representing 93.8 % of all employees. The Twangiza mining and mine development teams employed 670 Congolese in 2014, representing 92.8 % of its workforce. Subsequent to year end 2014, Congolese employment at Twangiza now exceeds 95%.
At Namoya, 551 Congolese, representing 90.3 % of all workers, were employed at the mine construction site over 2014. The lower statistic for local employment at Namoya is typical of the highly specialized employment mix required for the mine construction phase. The percentage of Congolese employees is expected to trend toward 95% in 2015.
Of the 17 employees in the Kinshasa administrative office, 14 are Congolese citizens and 3 are foreign nationals of Congolese background. The Banro Foundation employs 8 Congolese and two foreign nationals of Congolese origin.
Banro's employee base in the DRC is almost entirely African, with strong employee representation from Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.
Contracting firms provide Banro with professional or specialist services, such as engineering and related consulting services, building and road construction, transportation services, catering and camp management and on-site security. The number of jobs created through contract companies as of December 31, 2014 was 747, of which 719 or 96.3 % were held by Congolese.
Labour hire firms, owned by local business people, played an important role in the construction of the Twangiza and Namoya mines, generating in the case of Namoya construction 674 Congolese jobs during the peak construction period in 2014. As of December 31, 2014, 681 Congolese were employed by labour hire firms at Banro sites, the majority at Namoya. Many of these labourers are former artisanal miners. As construction winds down at each site, Banro works with outside partners to reposition these Congolese labourers in alternative livelihoods.
Local Community Employment
Understandably, people living near Banro’s project sites are particularly interested in the Company’s ability to generate jobs locally. Banro is committed to hiring people from the communities where our operations are located, whenever this is possible. At the Twangiza site, people from the nearby Luhwindja community represent 36 % of the total number of Congolese employed directly or through contractors and 100% of those employed by labour hire companies. A number of local people from Luhwindja also work at other Banro sites.
At Namoya, management achieved its 2014 goal of recruiting 85% of new hires - or 136 out of 160 new hires — from the neighboring Salamabila and Namoya communities.
Community Apprenticeship Program
The Banro Community Apprenticeship Program, established in 2014, is a critical component of Banro’s social responsibility strategy. It provides structured and comprehensive training for selected unemployed youth in the communities near Banro’s operations with basic, secondary or tertiary education. The training is designed to equip young people with the industry knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience that will ultimately improve their chances of gaining employment at Banro or indirectly in allied industry. When employment opportunities occur in the Company, graduates of the program will be given the first opportunity to apply and will be favorably considered. Graduates will also be entitled to commendation to seek employment with other employers.
In addition to equipping community youth with employable skills and creating a talent pool of qualified artisans, technicians and administrative staff, the program also aims to instill proper business ethics and values in potential candidates while building the human capital of local communities.
Local Community Employment Agreement
In tandem with the Community Apprenticeship program, the Company in 2014 also established the Local Community Employment Agreement to address the employment of skilled and unskilled workers locally. Where skilled labour is required, the Company will employ those with the requisite qualification and experience. Where unskilled labour is to be employed, Banro will make its best efforts to employ only validated residents of the communities who satisfy the internal assessment criteria. The Company will also do its best to distribute jobs fairly among the different towns and villages in a community. This policy will help ensure that at least 35% of the Congolese workforce is from the neighboring communities, with the goal of increasing this to 50% within 10 years of the start of gold production at each site.
Future Employment Growth in Banro
Banro is possibly the largest private sector employer in the South Kivu and Maniema area, and expects to be a significant regional employer for many decades to come. The Company’s strategic plan includes the construction and operation of new mines at Lugushwa and Kamituga, as well as future expansions of both the Twangiza and Namoya mines. We also anticipate a future acceleration in our exploration activities which could, in turn, lead to the discovery of new deposits and the building of additional mining operations.