An effective grievance mechanism allows local communities to communicate their concerns and issues directly to Barrick so that they may be resolved.
This allows our sites to take early action to resolve any issues before they grow into a serious social incident.
Since 2012, all our sites have had operating grievance mechanism. We are now focused on strengthening and improving the effectiveness of these grievance mechanisms.
Barrick has mandatory requirements related to the implementation and management of grievance mechanisms.
All sites must have a mechanism approved by the Executive Director and General Manager for receiving, documenting, tracking, reporting and responding to complaints and grievances. The grievance mechanisms must be accessible to a wide range of stakeholders, including women and vulnerable people, and be culturally appropriate.
In 2015, Barrick created an inter-site working group to share best practices and challenges that they face in applying the company’s grievance mechanism. The group consists of grievance mechanism officers at various company sites and other team members who help manage grievances. At its August 2015 meeting, the group was fortunate to be joined by John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and special advisor to Barrick’s Corporate Social Responsibility Advisory Board. Ruggie explained that, when a grievance mechanism works well, it serves as an antenna, helping companies flag and address potentially serious issues before they escalate.
At the majority of our sites, grievances are primarily related to employment and procurement opportunities; the mine’s potential impacts on water; contractor conduct in the community; and how sites treat local employees. At the Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea, where approximately 80% of our grievances originate, there are a significant number of grievances related to land, driven by ongoing discussions about resettlement and compensation.
In 2015, our sites received 1005 grievances and resolved 688 grievances, including cases carried over from 2014. At the end of 2015, 350 grievances remained outstanding.
The success of a grievance mechanism — or of a site’s relations with local communities — should not be measured by the number of grievances received. A lack of complaints may indicate a mechanism or company that is not trusted or deemed approachable by local stakeholders. Conversely, large numbers of grievances can indicate open lines of communication and robust community engagement activities.
However, by tracking the number and type of grievances, we are able to identify issues that are important to communities before they become social risks. For example, one of our sites in Peru identified an increase in the number of contractor-related grievances. This allowed the site to take immediate actions to address the problems. These included hiring a supply chain supervisor at the mine responsible for social issues and coordinating with contractors; engaging with the main contractor to have them hire a supervisor to address the social issues at their company and with their subcontractors; and commencing regular coordination meetings between supply chain, community relations and contractors to review any emerging community issues.
Similarly, in 2014 and 2015 the company saw a general increase in the number of grievances related to local employment and procurement across many sites. Each site was able to use this information to re-examine their programs and processes. As a company, this provided clear evidence on the need to re-think how we manage these programs. Ultimately, it led to the development of a local content framework to better support sites’ use of local labor, goods and services.
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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