Lundin Gold Inc. ("Lundin Gold" or the "Company") held a graduation ceremony on March 12th, 2019 for the first cohort of 111 mine and process plant operations students in the Mining Operations Training Program at its Fruta del Norte gold project (“Fruta del Norte” or the “Project”). The event was attended by national and local government authorities, and affiliated groups.
First Mining Operations Training Program graduating cohort
“Our goal, as Fruta del Norte approaches the operations stage, is to maximize opportunities for people living in neighboring communities,” said Ron Hochstein, Lundin Gold President and CEO. “In total, the three cohorts of students from the Mining Operations Training Program, which was initiated in 2018, have approximately 325 participants, and we are proud to say that 100% of them are residents of the Zamora Chinchipe province, where the Project is located.”
Ron Hochstein, Lundin Gold President and CEO, with some of the recent graduates
Since arriving in Ecuador, Lundin Gold has been working with the Lundin Foundation on projects that will generate benefits for the communities located near the Project, such as education and training. Given that large-scale mining requires skilled labor, the Company and the Lundin Foundation implemented the Mining Operations Training Program to maximize job opportunities at Fruta del Norte for the local population.
For six months, the first cohort trained as either mine operators, learning to handle heavy underground machinery or mine services, or as process plant operators. Two state-of-the-art simulators were purchased to train students in a 3D virtual reality mine environment. They are the only learning tools of this kind currently in Ecuador.
Keeping with the Company's local hiring strategy, this initiative prioritized communities located near Fruta del Norte. As a result, most of the 111 graduates from the first cohort are from the local communities of Los Encuentros, Playón, and Río Blanco which are located closest to the Project. This cohort also includes 20 women and 12 members of the indigenous Shuar nation.
Women who graduated from the Mining Operations Training Program
“The students worked hard and showed a commitment to learning, with each of them completing around 1,000 hours of intensive training,” added Simon Maurice, Lundin Foundation’s Training Director. “Today, they have the knowledge and skills needed for when the mine is in operations and are ready to begin hands on training in the mine and processing plant.”
Lundin Gold is guided by its responsible mining philosophy, and the Mining Operations Training Program represents a significant milestone for the community, the Project and large-scale mining in Ecuador.
- This first cohort of students includes 38 existing Lundin Gold employees, who will continue with the Company as Fruta del Norte transitions from construction to operations.
- 12 of the 111 graduates had previously completed the High School Equivalency Program, an educational initiative also offered by Lundin Gold and the Lundin Foundation, which ended in March 2018. That program was offered to Lundin Gold employees and persons over 18 years of age from the communities of Los Encuentros, Río Blanco, Playón, Chicaña and Yantzaza, who had dropped out of school during the last three years before high school graduation. Thanks to the Equivalency Program, a number of people in the community became eligible for and could participate in the Mining Operations Training Program.
- As well as two state-of-the-art mining simulators, Lundin Gold’s Mining Operations Training Program includes a team of world-class trainers and financial support for participants during their training period.
A group of students during their training
About Lundin Gold
Lundin Gold, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is developing its wholly-owned Fruta del Norte gold project in southeast Ecuador. Fruta del Norte is one of the world's largest, highest-grade gold projects currently under construction. The Company’s board and management team have extensive expertise in mine construction and operations and are dedicated to advancing this project through to first gold production in the fourth quarter of this year.
The Company operates with transparency and in accordance with international best practices. Lundin Gold is committed to delivering value to its shareholders, while simultaneously providing economic and social benefits to impacted communities, fostering a healthy and safe workplace and minimizing the environmental impact. The Company believes that the value created through the development of Fruta del Norte will benefit its shareholders, the Government and the people of Ecuador.