ERG unveils child protection centre

Luxembourg-headquartered Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), which has long partnered with the Good Shepherd International Foundation, was on hand to open the doors to the new Bon Pasteur child protection centre at Kolwezi in the Lualaba province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
ERG unveils child protection centre ERG unveils child protection centre ERG unveils child protection centre ERG unveils child protection centre ERG unveils child protection centre

The facility in the Kanina-Domain Marial artisanal cobalt mining community can accommodate almost 1,000 children in its 14 classrooms

The facility in the Kanina-Domain Marial artisanal cobalt mining community is part of the Bon Pasteur programme. The initiative is targeting the elimination of child labour, and the centre will be able to accommodate almost 1,000 children in its 14 classrooms.

In addition to providing free education, the centre will offer healthcare, nutrition, counselling and human rights training. Additionally, families will be able to research alternative livelihood opportunities, and the facility will serve as host to the activities of the Bon Pasteur Kolwezi community-based development programme.

ERG noted that, over the past seven years, the Bon Pasteur programme had made strides in the communities of the region on many fronts, such as forced child labour, gender-based violence, food insecurity and the lack of vital social infrastructure.

"We are proud and grateful to be a part of this important initiative, which goes right to the root of the challenge of child labour and affords a safe space for good choices and sustainable opportunities to be created," the miner's CEO Benedikt Sobotka said.

Foundation director Cristina Duranti pointed out that, in the time the group had been "on the ground" in the artisanal mining communities of Kolwezi, it had successfully helped almost 2,000 children get from the mines to the classroom.

Since 2012, the Bon Pasteur programme in Kolwezi has moved more than 2,000 children miners to quit their work in the cobalt mines and go to school.

Additionally, 500 women have quit the mines to gain skills through income-generating initiatives, and 500 girls are engaged in skills training and "dignified income-generating activities".

ERG is the world's largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content and one of the largest producers of alumina and iron ore products in Eurasia. In addition it is also the only producer of high-grade aluminium in Kazakhstan.

In Africa, ERG mines and processes copper and cobalt ore and has also recently launched the Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation (RTR) project, a major tailings reprocessing operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.