Mining and Corporate Social Responsibility in Zambia: A case study of Barrick Gold Mine
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a widely accepted non-core but essential part of profit making corporations. Practices vary in different companies and different countries. The motivation for each is different but nonetheless there is an agreed unwritten code about being good corporate citizens. CSR has become common place for companies in Zambia. Mining, telecommunications companies, banks and hotels practice CSR initiatives in different forms. Mining has been the biggest revenue earner for Zambia since the colonial era. Since the 1990s, CSR has been taken on by the mining companies in order to contribute to the community where they are situated. This research explores how CSR is perceived by local people, traditional leaders and district government officials from Ministry of Education in Solwezi. Solwezi is home to two of Zambia‟s largest mines namely Lumwana and Kansanshi mines owned by Barrick Gold and First Quantum Minerals respectively. These two mines have been established in the recent past in Solwezi and have become the hub of Zambia‟s economic activity and have been dubbed the „New Copperbelt‟. This thesis will look at Barrick Gold and the education projects that the mining company implements as a case study in CSR. The literature reveals that mining has been both helpful for economic growth yet detrimental socially and environmentally. There has been a disillusionment among people of the original Copperbelt who experienced cycles of boom when the copper prices and production are high and bust when the copper prices and production were low. In the New Copperbelt, Barrick Gold implements projects such as women‟s savings, education, health and agriculture. Many of the education and health projects involve infrastructure development. Even though this is the case, this thesis‟ findings indicate that the community who are the intended beneficiaries of the education projects perceive that more can be done in terms of education programmes over and above what Barrick Gold is currently doing. Accountability and transparency are also issues of concern for the officers at the Ministry of Education. This thesis explores how these interwoven connections work for and against access to education in the community level.