Preparing the ESIA and Mine Design

Early Phases of the ESIA

Terms of reference for the assessment were approved by the Ministry in charge of Environment in 2011 based on extensive consultations locally, with national authorities in Conakry, and with key international parties. Intensive studies to characterise the baseline conditions were conducted between 2011 and 2013.

Recent and On-Going Work on the ESIA and Mine Design

From 2014 to 2019, the Project’s studies were largely on hold. SMFG used this period to collect data addressing key topics mainly related to biodiversity, including the World Heritage Site’s outstanding universal value. Engineering work focused on innovative design improvements to further reduce environmental and social impacts. By late 2019, at the time of the transfer of ownership to High Power Exploration, several datasets had become outdated, and local social and land-use conditions had changed. The new owners were keen to complete baseline studies. From late 2019 through March 2020, multiple field studies were undertaken to update and complete all relevant datasets, whose analysis and writing-up followed later in 2020 and into 2021.

Standards for the ESIA

First and foremost, SMFG adheres rigorously to Guinean legal requirements.

The company benchmarks against international good practice arising from the status of the adjacent World Heritage Site and Nimba Mountains Biosphere Reserve.

SMFG’s Commitments

SMFG’s Commitments

SMFG seeks to achieve net gain in the biodiversity values for the critical habitat identified in the Project’s area of influence. The primary focus of net gain will be on the core areas of the Nimba Mountains Biosphere Reserve, and above all the Mount Nimba World Heritage Site, where the company will invest significantly in protection and restoration.

SMFG recognises that the project must stand on its environmental merits. While the Project’s investments in equitable, sustainable local development will be significant, social benefits cannot justify environmental losses.