Pan American Silver’s only operation in Bolivia, the San Vicente mine, is located in the Andean High Plateau, in the department of Potosi, at an elevation of approximately 4,400 meters above sea level. The mine is in a remote area, where the land is relatively barren and rugged, and where semi-arid climatic conditions prevail most of the year.
The mine is located near the Community of San Vicente, which is composed by 11 communities affiliated with the Organization of Original Communities of San Vicente. These communities are located in the municipalities of Atocha, Tupiza, Colcha K and San Pablo de Lipez.
Pan American is committed to the development of the Community of San Vicente, which we view as our strategic partner. Our Company also maintains close relationships with local authorities and other civic organizations and works with them to develop entrepreneurial skills within the communities and to contribute to their self-sustainability.
During 2012 and 2013, Gary Hannan, as Country Manager in Bolivia lead a one-of-a-kind initiative to benefit 11 communities in our area of influence in the region of Potosi through a sustainable development program that was jointly developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (formerly CIDA) and Pan American Silver Bolivia. “Project Access” is a three year program, which will improve the lives of 350 families dedicated to llama breeding. The program is teaching local ranchers the latest technology in breeding practices and entrepreneurial skills, all under the supervision of the Society for Cooperation in International Development (SOCODEVI), an NGO based in Canada. With the support of PASBOL’s CSR team, the program also focuses on providing equal opportunities for women in this activity by aiming to increase the sale of llama meat in local markets, as well as the development of new brands and businesses to commercialize llama products in provincial and national markets.
The “Project Access” had an excellent start in 2013, founded on the work previously done by our CSR team in Bolivia. The project has achieved the following results to date:
In 2013, we carried out our first dental health campaign geared towards the children of the San Vicente town and the surrounding communities, who received education on daily dental hygiene. In total, 637 children received training, as well as dental hygiene kits and fluoride treatments to prevent cavities.
This program was organized in conjunction with a “clean habits” campaign where children were taught the importance of washing their hands before and after meals to improve hygiene. All of the children in San Vicente and 11 nearby communities were tested, and if necessary, treated for parasites in line with UNICEF recommendations.
Pan American Silver undertook a nutrition program and trained children and families in vegetable production. In order to take advantage of the improved conditions of the soil, our local CSR team is teaching people the importance of growing different produce that was not typically part of their diet.
During the last part of 2013, the project also started sponsoring the construction of greenhouses in each community that will complement and enhance the nutrition of children attending school. Our aim is to improve and expand this program to help not only children but the diet of all the people in the local communities.
Pan American also contributes to the education of local children on an on-going basis by providing materials to students of 9 different communities each year. In addition, Pan American supports local teachers by distributing teaching supplies and other materials.