Effectively engaging with local communities is as important to us as any other part of the business.
Open, honest and respectful communication is essential to developing long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. Local communities expect and deserve the opportunity to have a voice in decisions that affect them. This means access to information about the operations, including their social, economic and environmental impacts, and access to company officials who will listen and act on community concerns. By showing respect to local stakeholders we can facilitate permitting and approvals, promote a more stable operating environment and form lasting partnerships.
Barrick’s Community Relations Management System (CRMS) facilitates community engagement by providing our sites with guidance and tools on best practices so that they can build stronger relationships.
These best practices include:
As community engagement is a dynamic process, the CRMS is designed to enable sites to adjust their approach as local relationships change and evolve over the life of the mine. Assurance and verification are important parts of our approach, providing sites with feedback and opportunities for improvement.
Embedding community engagement within a corporate management system gives us confidence that we are doing our best to work with communities in a consistent, comprehensive and transparent manner everywhere we operate.
The Pueblo Viejo mine conducts weekly mine visits to allow community members the opportunity to better understand the activities being undertaken on site.
Comprehensive stakeholder engagement throughout the life of our mines is the cornerstone to establishing and maintaining long-term community support for the company’s operations.
To help create a consistent approach across all our mine sites, Barrick’s CRMS requires all sites to develop and implement stakeholder engagement plans. These plans must, at a minimum, be based on stakeholder identification, mapping and analysis; include a clear engagement action plan outlining engagement approach and frequency; and track and document all engagement activities.
Our CR teams are especially aware that engagement must be culturally appropriate and involve the whole community. For example, most of our sites explicitly document the proportion of women and men attending community meetings or visiting the offices. Based on these statistics, specific engagement programs for women may be developed.
As a company, Barrick expects all stakeholders to be consulted and informed, in a timely manner, about site activities throughout the life of mine. For example, communities must be informed of potential social impacts of a change in the mine plan, as well as our plans to mitigate them. Sites must also have processes in place to facilitate stakeholder participation in the decisions or matters that affect them.
Community Participatory Mapping at Pueblo Viejo
At Barrick’s Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, the site Social Responsibility (SR) team worked with the local community members to conduct Community Participatory Mapping (CPM) workshops. CPM engages community members in mapping out their own community, as they see it, and in analyzing for themselves how their community functions, by self-identifying the boundary, community leaders, central organizations or companies, and all the elements they recognize to be part of their local area. This process helps Barrick identify items of importance that may be overlooked by traditional social studies and encourages community members to recognize that they are the experts on their own community. By participating in the exercise, the Pueblo Viejo SR team is able to better understand how important the company is for communities and how central or peripheral we are to the community´s life. We are then able to tailor our engagement and development activities in response. There were 2,080 community members who participated and, due to its success, it will be repeated in 2016.
Intensive Community Engagement in Zambia
In 2014, the government of Zambia approved legislation to increase royalties from 6% to 20%. Following this legislation, Barrick announced that it would put the Lumwana mine on care and maintenance. The possibility of the mine closing led to significant concern and anxiety in the local community. Anticipating these concerns, the Lumwana community relations team undertook an intensive engagement strategy to keep community members informed. Through one-on-one meetings, community town halls, and publications/ leaflets, the site helped the community understand Barrick’s position and how the change would impact the community. The subsequent reduction of the royalty to 9% in 2015 enabled us to keep operating, and Zambian Parliament has since passed a 4–6% sliding scale royalty.
Respectful engagement is critical at all stages of a mine’s operation, particularly in the initial exploration phase. Not only does it help ensure we receive a license to explore, it also establishes a positive relationship with the local community if mine development occurs. To this end, we have created guidance for community engagement tailored specifically for our exploration teams. Our Exploration Community Relations Guidebook provides the exploration teams with the tools and knowledge they need to engage with communities in a professional and transparent manner.
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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