Over the years of exploring and developing projects in West Africa, Stellar has carefully considered how best to contribute to the social upliftment of its staff, local communities and other stakeholders.

As an exploration company on restricted budgets one of the main challenges has been managing the expectations and demands presented to the Company, often on a daily basis. As some projects moved into production, or were awarded larger budgets, then Stellar has been able to more widely implement a number of socio-economic initiatives in its areas of work.

Staff

Stellar has a policy of employing and training locally as much as possible. Although expatriate workers are often an essential part of the development of a project, particularly those in production, the numbers are kept to a minimum. Skills transfer from experienced expatriates to local nationals is critical to the development of a competent, committed and cost effective work force. Where two geologists showed particular promise and a flair for higher education Stellar has funded their Masters Degrees in exploration geology, at Rhodes University in South Africa, and geographical information systems, in Holland.

Road and Bridge Construction

It has often been necessary to significantly upgrade the road and bridge infrastructure to make projects accessible. This has led to improvement of the transport network such that remote villages have become connected to national routes, access by light vehicles has become possible and trade and commerce has increased. In Guinea and Sierra Leone some 120km and 25km of road, as well as numerous bridges, have been upgraded and built by Stellar.

School Construction and Refurbishment

Before Stellar withdrew from Liberia the Weasua local community requested that the Company assist with the construction of a secondary school (the old one being destroyed in the war). Although Stellar was only at the exploration stage, the Company agreed to construct a school and utilised all local labour and materials (as far as possible), giving added secondary economic benefits to the community. In Sierra Leone the Company has also assisted in the rebuilding of five community based schools, as well as currently developing a preschool and playground area. In Guinea the NGO World Education has conducted a base line study in the educational needs in the two communities closest to the Mandala mine area, after being commissioned by the Company prior to mining commencing.

Storm Relief

On two occasions the Company has made financial donations to the Storm Disaster Management Committee established Chiefdom authorities in Kono, Sierra Leone, following destructive storms. These storms left thousands homeless without food and shelter and the donations went some way to alleviating the situation at the time.

Small Business Support and Development

Stellar recognises the fact that other than direct employment, opportunities exist whereby “secondary industry” can be supported and developed through utilising and developing small business enterprise in the communities in which the Company is present. For example, in Kono and Mandala support programmes have included:

  • Tyre repair and maintenance
  • Rewinding of electrical motors
  • Timber supply for the underground mining support
  • Metal and Blacksmith engineering work
  • Support of local women agricultural networks (supply fresh vegetables)
  • Support (financial and structural) for local food providers at the mine sites
  • Donation of redundant equipment and scrap metal to community empowered bodies

HIV and Aids Awareness Campaign

In Kono the Company developed an HIV/AIDS awareness which involved the workforce via workshops in coordination with the Department of Health.

Water Well Maintenance

There has been an initiative of clean water campaign in Kono whereby the Company has rehabilitation and cleaning water well points, providing clean water to over 180 persons in the environment. In Mandala a number of water wells have also been constructed for the local communities of the villages adjacent to the mines.

Football Sponsorships

Stellar has sponsored numerous football games involving teams from the mines, projects and communities. Naturally these events are well attended and provide welcome relief and entertainment to many people, not only those participating in the game.