Following progressive decreases in production capacity in previous years, Glencore Nickel had to transition its Falcondo operation to care and maintenance towards the end of 2013. This was mainly due to the lack of access to low-cost, competitive sustainable energy and low nickel prices. This was a difficult decision with a significant impact on the local community and we have made diligent efforts to support them during this transition.
We established our round tables for dialogue and development in 12 of the communities close to our Falcondo operation in the Dominican Republic. This has contributed to improved understanding, stronger relationships and collaborative work on community-driven initiatives.
In 2013, we received fewer complaints at Falcondo, partly due to an ability to pre-empt problems through regular conversation, before they might be escalated. We also experienced a significant reduction in social disruptions such as road blocks, which used to be common before this initiative began.
The round tables bring together a cross-section of community representatives and mine personnel to discuss matters associated with the mine, and define priorities and ways to work together, and with others, on community development initiatives. The approach focuses on empowering local communities to find local solutions to local problems.
We established the round tables over the course of 9 months, with our community relations team holding discussions on proposed objectives and scopes. One by one we assisted these communities in systematically forming and building consensus on representation and procedure. Importantly, all decisions remained in the hand of the communities.
In July 2013, we delivered training on community development and dialogue method to community round table leaders. Ensuring that our people share the same tools, language and skills as community leaders has proven critical to opening up new communication channels and ways of working together. We continue to emphasise community training and remain committed to round table support at Falcondo.