Sovereign appoints SocialEssence to assist in progressing Malawi project

23rd January 2024 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Aim- and ASX-listed Sovereign Metals has appointed specialist social performance consultancy SocialEssence to assist in the continued development of the company’s stakeholder relations, social performance objectives and its community and social responsibility (CSR) framework.

Sovereign has engaged SocialEssence to design and execute social performance activities during the definitive feasibility study (DFS) phase of the company’s Kasiya graphite project, in Malawi.

SocialEssence will prepare Kasiya’s social-impact assessment and management plan for the DFS and permitting.

It will also design, implement and manage social performance activities, including stakeholder engagement and the development of key relationships.

It will also prove the feasibility of critical social performance measures (including early local content, and piloting of livelihood restoration programmes, and piloting of rehabilitation activities to restore land for agricultural use); and align with Sovereign’s environmental, social and governance framework.

SocialEssence founder Garth Lappeman has over 16 years of on-the-ground social performance planning and implementation experience in accordance with International Finance Corporation Performance Standards and World Bank Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines, Sovereign points out.

SocialEssence has been active in a number of countries working on projects in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Northern Sudan, Tanzania, Uzbekistan and Zambia, it adds.

Sovereign highlights that, in Zambia, SocialEssence’s director was involved from early exploration through to steady-state production of First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM's) Trident operations, which includes the Sentinel copper mine that is of similar scale to Sovereign’s Kasiya project.

Lappeman was responsible for implementing and managing social and community initiatives for FQM as it established its large-scale commercial operations.

“SocialEssence's exemplary record and implementation experience aligns with our objectives of establishing long-lasting and sustainable community relationships well ahead of project implementation.

“The conservation farming programme implemented by SocialEssence's leaders in Zambia has stood the test of time and has over 7 000 participating farmers. We will continue to build out our owner's team and capabilities while we work through Kasiya's optimisation with Rio Tinto,” says SocialEssence MD and CEO Frank Eagar