What does sustainable development mean in the mining industry? At Newmont, we define it as managing resources in a way that provides shared value for all of our stakeholders without impairing the ability of future generations to benefit from those resources.
While we are continually improving our own sustainability practices, we also voluntarily participate in a number of external global initiatives and partnerships that are raising the bar for environmental, social, safety, and ethical performance across the mining industry. One such organization is the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).
In 1998, Newmont and other leading mining companies and NGOs launched the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development project, aimed at ensuring mining’s long-term contribution to sustainable development. By 2001, interest and participation in sustainable mining practices grew and Newmont became one of the founding members of the ICMM. Today, ICMM members include 22 mining and metals companies, as well as 34 national and regional mining associations and global commodity associations.
Then and now, Newmont remains a key contributor to the ICMM, helping to build and continuously improve a Sustainable Development Framework through a consultative process with stakeholders. All ICMM members are required to implement the Sustainable Development Framework into their own corporate policies, including the Framework’s transparent and accountable reporting practices and its 10 principles for sustainable development, which range from maintaining ethical business practices to upholding human rights to improving health, safety and environmental performance. Each member’s progress against these principles is assessed annually by the ICMM and published in its Annual Review.
The ICMM’s 10 principles guide our business practices and policies not only because they are required by the ICMM, but also because they reflect our values as a company. They also represent what it means to do business the right way.
For example, one of the ICMM’s principles requires member companies to “contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of the communities in which they operate.” In Ghana, where we operate the Ahafo mine, Newmont has made significant contributions to local communities and the country. An independent study conducted in 2009 reveals that through direct employment and indirect impact in the value chain, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) created jobs for approximately 48,000 people in Ghana. NGGL also funded the construction of roads, communications systems and electrical plants – all of which will serve the Ghanaian people long after the mine closes.
Another ICMM principle is to “uphold fundamental human rights and respect cultures, customs and values in dealings with employees and others who are affected by our activities.” Our Jundee operation in Australia conducts Cultural Heritage Surveys with the Martu Traditional Owners (Australian Aboriginal people), as well as Cross Cultural Awareness Training for all operational staff. We’re currently working to provide more opportunities to pass on information to the community in a more comprehensive and effective manner.
Yet another example of how Newmont’s business practices align with ICMM principles is Newmont’s focus on conservation and biodiversity. We use an Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) – which was developed through partnerships with several international conservation groups – to identify legally protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value in the regions in which we operate. The IBAT provides Newmont with detailed, up-to-date and reliable data on biodiversity and critical natural habitats that is used to help inform project planning and implementation of environmental safeguards.
These are just a few examples demonstrating how Newmont integrates sustainable practices into how we do business. Through our voluntary participation in organizations like the ICMM, we are committed to aligning our business objectives with our social and environmental performance.