Women's Microcredit

Microcredit For Female Entrepreneurs

Sigma Lithium established the largest microcredit program in Brazil, which has been targeted for female entrepreneurs in the Jequitinhonha Valley region. The program has currently enrolled 730 female entrepreneurs and announced an expansion to achieve total enrollment of 10,000 over the long-term. Through this program, the Company will encourage sustainable development by providing microcredit loans of R$2,000 per person and providing mentorship programs.

Rain Water Basins

Zero Drought for Small Holder Farmers

The Company announced during its participation at COP-27 in Egypt the “Zero Drought for Small Holder Farmers” program consisting of the construction of 1,000 small rainwater capture structures in the municipality of Itinga and another 1,000 in the municipality of Araçuaí, totaling 2,000 structures in the region of mid Jequitinhonha Valley. These water capture basins will be dug into the ground and located at strategic points to prevent soil erosion during the heavy rainfall season, store water for irrigation of small crops during the dry periods and contribute to increasing the volume of water that will feed the region’s aquifers. The total investment by the Company is estimated at approximately R$4,000,000 (R$2,000 per structure).

Water For All

To further combat the impacts of water scarcity in the Jequitinhonha Valley region, Sigma Lithium committed to donating 3,000 water tanks to residents located nearby the Greentech Plant.

Combating Violence Against Women Program

Sigma Lithium announced its plans to introduce a program, in partnership with the Justice Court of the state of Minas Gerais, targeting domestic abuse against women in the Jequitinhonha Valley region. This program advances the goals of UN SDGs #5 (Gender Equality) and #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

Supporting Local Communities

Many people in the Jequitinhonha Valley are vulnerable to hunger and health issues – often due to earning less than R$3 a day (equivalent to roughly $0.6). A situation that has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To alleviate this problem, we have worked to provide local communities with vital support. This includes fighting hunger by delivering 7,000 food baskets, with a commitment to deliver an additional 7,000. This initiative helps ~2,400 low-income families per month and could provide as many as 2.4 million meals for local residents in need.

To support local healthcare services, we have donated upwards of 30,000L of disinfectant as well as COVID-19 prevention education booklets. Our initiatives provide necessary supplies for over 20,000 medical appointments per month. This has helped to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout local communities, taking some of the pressure off hard-working medical staff.

To support families and enable mothers to re-enter the workforce, we launched a program for the adoption of two daycare centers, one in each of the two local municipalities closest to Grota do Cirilo. The goal of the program is to provide basic care needs to 560 underprivileged children under the age of three years old over the course of a year.

We also supported our local communities where we operate in response to flooding at the end of the year in 2021 as a result of unsually high rainfall. We distributed over 11,000L of potable water as part of relief efforts for families who either lost their homes or were displaced, helping ~400 families with partial or no access to water and food during the holiday season.

Bringing Prosperity to the Region

Today, we are the largest investor in the Jequitinhonha Valley, with more than R$400m realized so far. In the longer term, we are committed to strengthening the economic prospects of local communities.

As part of this, we have strong working relationships with the municipalities of Araçuaí and Itinga, along with the people living there.

A critical project we have worked in partnership with both municipalities on is the launch of an independent agency focused on driving private investment in the region. This is known as the ‘Investment Agency’, and it aims to transform the territory with activities to stimulate development and contribute to diversification in the area.

We have gained support for the Investment Agency from the State of Minas Gerais and its various development bodies. These include the state’s development bank (BDMG), the Secretary of Special Development and Invest Minas – the state’s investment agency.

These will all play a key role in helping us to bring greater investment and prosperity to the Jequitinhonha Valley, transforming and improving the lives of local people across the region.

We are also dedicated to providing employment and training opportunities for our local communities. Through our ‘Homecoming Employment Program (Volta ao Lar)’, we have successfully brought back the qualified workforce that had previously migrated out of our region due to lack of employment opportunities with ~70% of our workforce being comprised of locals to the Vale do Jequitinhonha region.

Additionally, we have partnered with the Federal University of Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Campus Janauba and the Federal Institute of Education of Araçuaí to creat the first program to prepare mining technicians in our region. This initiative will help foster prosperity in the region while further enhancing our focus on employing our local community at Grota do Cirilo.

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