One of the Project's most significant impacts is the resettlement over a ten year period of approximately 40,000 people, including around 2,300 indigenous people. This estimate is based on a demographic and socioeconomic survey carried out as part of the Feasibility Study involving visits to over 25,000 households in and around the area of the proposed mine site. Around a third of the initial development costs will be spent on the community, resettlement and compensation before any mining actually starts. The resettlement programme will follow international best practice.
The resettlement programme will recognise the rights of all affected people and in particular the special needs of indigenous people both in the way we interact and negotiate with them and the way the plans are implemented. Wherever possible the impact on people will be avoided. Indeed, the original mine footprint was revised during the Feasibility Study to reduce the number of people who will be affected. Where resettlement does occur, GCM will ensure that no one will be worse off and that each person adversely affected will be fairly and fully compensated. Specifically.
- The living conditions of those who are physically displaced will be improved.
- The livelihoods of those who are economically displaced will be restored and in most cases improved.
- A choice of resettlement options will be provided. Experience on previous resettlement projects is that financial compensation is not always the most effective method of restoring livelihoods and so, where possible and practical, alternatives to financial compensation will be offered including preferential opportunities for employment. Similarly, improved living conditions through provision of housing, community facilities and infrastructure in newly established community villages and towns will be offered in preference to cash financial compensation.
- There will be an extensive consultation process. One of the aims of the consultation process will be to ensure that affected people fully understand the Project, its impacts and benefits and so are able to make informed decisions.
- Potential resettlement sites have been identified for those indigenous communities that have expressed a wish to be relocated as a group. These sites were identified in consultation with the groups themselves.
- A survey of sites of archaeological cultural and religious significance has been carried out. All cultural property within the mine footprint including sites of archaeological, historical and religious significance, graveyards and cremation sites will be managed in accordance with the appropriate social and religious norms, prior to the occupation of any land for mining purposes.
- Preferential employment opportunities will be given to those affected together with training programmes to maximise the benefit of the Project affected people.
- The Project will support and seek assistance from other organisations including those already working with indigenous groups in the Project area to help us develop the constructive relationships that are necessary to support a successful resettlement programme.
- A grievance mechanism will be established to provide a means of raising concerns and having them addressed.
- As part of the Resettlement Plan, GCM will be constructing a western extension to the Phulbari town as well as a number of new resettlement villages in the area. The new resettlement sites will have improved services and infrastructure including electricity, the provision of sanitation and reticulated water supply and storm-water drainage. New schools, religious centres and medical centres will also be built.