For the second year running PanAust has received the award for Best Community Development Initiative, Southeast Asia Category, at the Asia Mining Congress Global Mining Sustainability Awards in Singapore. The award recognizes the positive contribution PanAust’s Technical Trades Training program is making to remote communities adjacent to the company’s Phu Kham Copper Gold Project in Laos.

Award submissions were judged by an expert panel comprising representatives from the International Council on Mining and Metals, the International Finance Corporation, and the University of Queensland’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining.

PanAust’s in-house Technical Trades Training program is building much-needed skills and long-term trade skills capacity locally through high-quality, formal, Lao-recognized trade qualifications in the fields of welding and fabrication, automotive mechanical, automotive electrical, electrical fitting, and heavy mechanical engineering/mechanical fitting.

PanAust’s general manager – human resources and risk management Adrian Bell says, “By the end of 2011 a total of 54 trainees will have completed the trade traineeship program. This has provided a significant number of people employment, career paths and an income that is considerably higher than the Lao national average. Long‐term social and economic benefits flow into communities through lifestyle improvements and educational opportunities that are passed on to the next generation.”

“Observing the men and women from local villages who would not normally have access to vocational training and career opportunities achieve their trade qualifications and the consequential community benefits gives the company and all of its staff great satisfaction.

“Last year, PanAust received the award for Best Community Development Initiative for its Livelihood Improvement Program which helped establish market‐garden and fish‐farming businesses in local communities. Local small businesses are now providing up to 10 tonnes of produce to the Phu Kham accommodation camp each month. The program’s most recent success is the establishment of two thriving sewing‐group businesses supported once again by the Village Savings and Credit Fund – a micro‐finance plan developed by the company in partnership with the Lao Women’s Union of the District of Xaysomboune.”

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