Globe Metals and Mining (Globe, ASX: GBE) has taken a leadership role in promoting health improvement and community relations. Globe is commissioning the development of the Etandweni Health Post (‘Etandweni’ or the ‘Post’), which surrounds the Company’s Kanyika Niobium Project in Malawi. Work on the initiative started about a year and a half ago after consultations with the community. Etandweni was “a derelict facility that offered child immunization, nutritional and general health advice and family planning”. Globe became involved in Etandweni to improve relations with the community surrounding the Kanyika Niobium Project as the Company prepares to complete the Definitive Feasibility Study in December, 2012. Ms Skye Gilligan, Globe’s Manager of Corporate Communications & Social Responsibility, noted that there was an “overwhelming demand for greater health services in and around Etandweni, and Globe sought the financial and professional assistance of local public and private partnerships to dynamically boost the current and future capacity of the facility”.
Globe sought assistance from the , which supports Australian mining and service industry companies operating in Africa, securing a Direct Aid Program (DAP) grant worth AUD$ 29,000 from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to install solar electricity and a vaccine fridge at the Health Post. Australia’s ambassador to Malawi, Dr. Matthew Neuhaus explained that DAP funds projects that offer “tangible development outcome for a specific group of disadvantaged people, particularly the needs of women and children”. Ambassador Neuhaus noted that “it was a perfect fit as the impact of electricity would be significant – not only extending operational hours, but providing the ability to power refrigeration for the storage of life-saving vaccines.” Globe has promised additional investments in Etandweni, including the provision of water through drilling of a bore and installation of a hand pump; purchasing essential medical equipment, provisions and furniture and completing the Health Surveillance Assistant’s lodgings adjacent to the Post. Globe benefits directly from promoting initiatives such as Etandweni. A higher quality and availability of vaccinations allows the Company is able to limit disruptions of work due to health both as far as workers are concerned and their families.
Professor Mark Jones, Director of the Global Health Alliance of WA (GHAWA – a partnership of all five Western Australian universities working with the Department of Health Western Australia to improve health care outcomes in developing countries) worked with Globe in Malawi to assess the Etandweni Post’s capacity in conjunction with other health facilities in the Mzimba district.
Last January Globe’s exploration license for the multi-commodity Kanyika Niobium Project was extended by an additional two years with the option to renew at the end of 2013. The license covers an area of 607 square kilometers. Globe expects to begin production of ferro-niobium, an essential additive in sophisticated steels, in 2014. Also in Malawi, Globe is developing the Machinga rare-earth project, in which the Company could earn an up to 80% interest.