Metminco chips in for Quinchia chip shop

PROSPECTIVE Australian Colombian miner Metminco is helping artisanal mining women from the Miraflores area in Quinchia break out of poverty and empower themselves by funding a plantain chip manufacturing facility for the local community, as part of a corporate social responsibility work program.
Metminco chips in for Quinchia chip shop Metminco chips in for Quinchia chip shop Metminco chips in for Quinchia chip shop Metminco chips in for Quinchia chip shop Metminco chips in for Quinchia chip shop

Women working at the Quinchip factory

Metminco has a portfolio of gold projects in Colombia's Quinchia region, about 100km south of the capital Medellin.

The resource-rich area historically attracts thousands of artisanal miners.

More often than not these are poorly educated women seeking to alleviate entrenched poverty, which Metminco is seeking to help by staffing the Quinchips factory entirely with women who either worked as artisanal miners or were the partners of such miners.

The factory is co-sponsored by the Australian government through the Australian Embassy in Colombia.

The factory was opened in a ceremony last week attended by the ambassador and local dignitaries.

Metminco managing director Jason Stirbinskis said Metminco had trained the team in administration, sales, production and health and safety and fitted out one of the company buildings as a production facility.

"We are planning for success in Colombia, and with that comes our commitment to positive community engagement and setting the right foundations for the establishment of a long-term mining business that benefits the local community," he said.

Australia's first ambassador in Colombia, Sophie Davies, said the project highlighted the best of Australia's work in the country: the promotion of gender equality, the partnership with science and academia, a strong relationship with communities and local government, and sustainable mining practices.

She said the project was also an opportunity to eradicate poverty and empower women.

Stirbinskis said a company's social licence to operate was granted by a community on a daily basis and through this program Metminco could be part of the local community and meet its obligations to local groups.

"It's moments like these when we see the very real and positive difference an exploration company can make to a community," he said.

"The initiative was a relatively modest investment for Metminco, commensurate with its current size and operating budget, but the ongoing benefits are very significant, especially for the Quinchips team, who are no longer in the unsafe business of artisanal mining."