Millions of people around the world maintain their livelihoods through artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).
Barrick has operations that are adjacent to thriving ASM communities, primarily in Papua New Guinea and Peru. The individuals and groups engaged in ASM near our operations are important local stakeholders, and we work with them towards a safer, healthier and more profitable relationship.
At Barrick, we have an opportunity to contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of the communities in which we operate. ASM miners and their dependents constitute a unique part of these communities. However, the presence of ASM operations sometimes involves significant challenges, including poor environmental, health and safety practices; heightened security risks to neighboring communities and operations; child and forced labor; inequitable distribution of benefits in communities; and an illegal trade in minerals. Given these complexities, our approach is to support efforts to legitimize what is sometimes an illegal activity – often conducted in poor and unsafe working conditions – but which drives the local economy.
There are small ASM mining groups near the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV)1 mine in Papua New Guinea. PJV has an interest in a mutually respectful and peaceful coexistence with these lawful artisanal and small-scale miners. However, since the mine began operating in 1990, there has been significant in-migration to the Porgera Valley. Continuation of illegal miners–focused engagement programs has been partially responsible for the dramatic reduction in late 2015 in the number of illegal miners present in the region.
1 On August 31, 2015, Barrick completed the sale of 50% of its interest in the Porgera mine to Zijin Mining Group Company (Zijin). The Porgera mine is operated by BNL, the joint venture entity, on behalf of Barrick and Zijin. Accordingly, all information related to Porgera in this report for the period from September 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, is based on data provided by BNL, the joint venture entity.
It has been estimated that approximately 50,000 families are involved in ASM in Peru, most of them in rural areas, including the area near our Lagunas Norte mine. Historically, artisanal mining in Peru has often been unregulated.
As part of our community engagement activities, we supported the artisanal mining formalization process launched by the Peruvian government. The development and legalization of artisanal miners through this formalization process will provide access for the ASM community to credit and markets, along with safer working conditions.
To start this process, Barrick developed a socio-economic baseline with the ASM communities near Lagunas Norte and, in 2013, signed an Exploitation Agreement. Following extensive engagement with both the coal miners and the regional government, in 2015 the formalization process was concluded and the coal miners were granted certificates from the government for mining operations.
Our vision is the generation of wealth through responsible mining — wealth for our owners, our people, and the countries and communities with which we partner.
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