We recognize our activities throughout the mine lifecycle have the potential to impact people’s rights, and that increasingly the risks inherent in our business are being framed in human rights terms.
Our commitment to managing these risks and respecting the rights, cultures, customs and values of those working on our behalf or living near our operations includes minimizing impacts while contributing toward strengthening and empowering host communities.
Advancing our human rights journey
We have accelerated efforts to continuously improve our performance by taking these steps:
- In 2014, we included an explicit statement in our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy committing to operate in line with the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (Guiding Principles), which require at a minimum that we do no harm.
- The following year we implemented our Human Rights Standard, which requires all our operations to manage impacts, address grievances, and embed human rights considerations into business activities.
- In 2015, we also were the first in the extractive industry to publicly report against the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (Reporting Framework), the first comprehensive guide for reporting on human rights risks.
The right to security of person – a salient human rights risk
An important element of the Reporting Framework is identifying our salient human rights risks – that is, those with the highest chance of occurring and with potentially severe consequences as a result of our business activities. Because conflicts between community members and our security personnel have occurred, the right to security of person is one of our seven salient human rights risks.
Through our formal participation in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), we commit to work alongside our host communities to implement the Voluntary Principles (VPs) – a framework that enables us to maintain the safety and security of our operations while respecting human rights. We also commit to report all incidents involving a potential violation of the VPs to the VPSHR plenary.
One such matter involves an ongoing, complex land dispute between our Yanacocha operation in Peru and members of the Chaupe family. In 2016, RESOLVE, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to multi-stakeholder consensus building, publicly disclosed the findings of an independent, fact-based examination of the issues associated with the dispute. The report concluded that our acquisition of the land in question was reasonable and that Yanacocha’s actions did not violate human rights, but also identified areas where we have room for improvement. The full report, along with our response to the report and our planned next steps to resolve the dispute, are publicly available.
We are currently integrating human rights into our existing risk assessment processes at all sites to ensure we accurately identify and mitigate potential risks to human rights.
Working with communities on solutions
In each of our regions where the potential for security-related incidents with human rights implications are of greatest concern – Ghana, Peru and Suriname – we conduct required training for our security teams and invite national and local law enforcement personnel to attend, and we promote awareness, understanding and application of the VPs.
We also encourage host governments to join the VPSHR and engage with them and community members to better understand our impacts and how we can work together to maintain everyone’s security and respect human rights. Examples of these efforts include:
- Peru – We host Security/Community Integration Program (SCIP) events to build trusting relationships between local community members and security personnel. Held in towns near our Yanacocha operation, SCIP events provide a relaxed atmosphere with games, events for children, educational sessions and food. These events also provide an opportunity to remind community members of the mechanisms they can use to express concerns or engage with Yanacocha.
- Indonesia – At our recently divested Batu Hijau operation in Indonesia, three joint exercises involving Newmont security, private security and police were held in 2016 as a platform for mutual sharing and capacity building. Two of these exercises also involved the community.
- Ghana – In 2014, Ghana became the first African country to join the VPSHR. Newmont is helping the government implement the VPs by serving on the country’s implementation steering committee; hosting NGOs and government officials for site visits to observe how we train security personnel according to the VPs; and extending the VPs training to those in Ghanaian police agencies as well as to our business partners and managers.
- Suriname – At our Merian operation, the security team engages with the Orden Goud Sektor – a group responsible for the regulation and control of artisanal small-scale gold miners in the area – and has held meetings with the Suriname police and Orden Goud Sektor on the implementation of the VPs.
For more details on our approach to human rights or our security strategy, please visit our annual sustainability report, Beyond the Mine.