Taking “good works” to heart in Uganda
I noted with interest your editorial comment, “A sea change in global relief?” in the January 2005 issue of CMJ in which you said, “Instead of wasting money on superfluous activities such as corporate takeover battles, how about channeling those funds into the sort of good works that will make a real difference to people.”
The story of IBI Corp. and our activities in Uganda might be of interest to you and your readers.
We are successfully mining and processing vermiculite at our Namekara mine in Mbale district in Uganda. Since the inception of our development work in 2000, IBI has made proactive corporate social responsibility and environmentally sound mine site management a key plank of our operating platform in Uganda.
Our vermiculite operations are now close to being consistently cash-positive at the mine operations level. As the company becomes profitable we plan to provide 10% of profits towards direct appropriate financial assistance in the social sphere to the residents of the region. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to improve social conditions in the area through a number of initiatives. As a result we have had very positive response from the people working at the mine.
We are proud of our environmental and social record in Uganda and make a point of taking a public stance on those activities.
Gary A. Fitchett, president and CEO IBI Corp. Port Perry, Ont. www.IBInvest.com
Mining life not bad
The letter entitled “Executives need to be more honest” by George C. Sharpe (CMJ January 2005) bothers me.
I am the last of at least six generations of mining people, and the living and working conditions over those six generations have steadily improved. My grandfather, for instance, was a colliery manager in Scotland during the 1920s and was paid 500 pounds per year and never owned a car!
Does the mining industry sometimes require you to move to other countries in order to take advantage of opportunities? Certainly! Both my late father and myself worked in four countries each.
I can understand Mr. Sharp being upset if he worked for small, under-funded operations which failed to pay him; however, wasn’t this partly his own fault for being gullible?
Both my sons went into occupations other than mining and I believe they made a mistake. My one son is in the movie business working long hours that would be illegal in our industry.
Why did my sons not go into mining? Hollywood perhaps–according to them mines are always involved in instant disasters. Being in Canada I was also unable to take them underground and let them set off a blast at the age of eight years like my father did for me in 1944 at Waterpan colliery in South Africa.
John D. Cairns, PEng, CEng., FIMMM Saskatoon, Sask.