Illegal miners are people who enter a mine property without permission with the intention of stealing gold-bearing ore.
This differs from artisanal miners, who generate income from labor-intensive mining activities, often alongside large-scale mining operations.
Safety is a very important issue associated with illegal mining. By entering unsafe areas of the mines (such as open pit walls, ore stockpiles, and active mining areas), illegal miners put their own lives and the lives of our employees at risk.
Our response to illegal mining is primarily driven by safety concerns –for both our employees and the trespassers themselves. The level of criminal and violent behavior often displayed by illegal miners can threaten both the local community and our employees, the vast majority of whom are also from local communities. When incursions by illegal miners occur, our security personnel, who have been trained in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, are the first to engage in a dialogue with them, to encourage them to leave.
We also believe there is a clear need to adopt community development strategies alongside and in coordination with improved security measures. The ultimate goal is to eliminate confrontation and work in harmony with local communities by supporting viable, sustainable livelihoods.
At the Porgera Joint Venture1 mine in Papua New Guinea, attention is focused on preventing entry to the active mine areas through more effective engagement with local leaders, education of young people about the safety risks involved and improved coordination between mine security staff and public authorities. PJV has also completed the construction of a fence around the active areas of the operation in order to ensure the safety of all concerned. The mine continues to explore a range of options to further minimize the risks associated with illegal mining, including economic alternatives that may be offered to the local population.
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.
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