Almost 3,400 community members living around MMG LXML Sepon, the copper and gold mine in Savannakhet province, have been provided with safe and sustainable water supplies.
The project, which has cost more than US$800,000 and taken 15 months to complete, uses solar-powered pumps to draw water from bore holes. The use of solar energy reduces the cost of using the system, as well as making it more environmentally friendly. Each of the 12 project villages also has a water tank or tower (to ensure a constant supply) and several tap stands. The implementing partner for the project was Sunlabob.
The project required unusually deep bore holes to be dug, as sources of water nearer the surface could not provide a reliable supply. The depth of the boreholes increased the cost of the project.
In several of the villages, the new water supply replaces water systems that had been put in place by other organisations before the mine was established. Some of the old systems had broken down, while others had been declared unsafe as they only tapped shallow water. In comparison, the new water supplies have been designed to provide a safe, consistent and sustainable water supply.
“Local people can use the new water primarily for household purposes,” said Mr Saman Aneka, Director of MMG LXML Sepon. “However, to provide water for drinking, community members can use a bio-sand filter we have provided, then boil the water,” he said.
The initiative is one component of MMG LXML Sepon’s community development activities, which also includes programs related to livelihoods, health, village banking and savings, small enterprise development and improving local infrastructure. The mine’s aim is to enable long lasting, positive change that will improve the quality of life for host communities beyond the life of the mine.
MMG LXML Sepon has also contributed approximately US$250,000 to the cost of a UN Habitat project which will provide an urban water supply for Vilabouly’s district capital.
Vilabouly children are demonstrating their clean water