At times, the construction or expansion of a mine may require land acquisition and, in some cases, resettlement of local communities. This can entail the physical displacement of people and a disruption of their livelihoods.
Barrick seeks to avoid resettlement whenever we can by exploring alternative project designs.
At Barrick we recognize that poorly planned and managed land acquisition, including physical resettlement and economic displacement, can adversely impact communities and our relationships with them. When resettlement cannot be avoided, Barrick’s community relations teams work together with affected households, communities and host governments to manage resettlement in a manner consistent with local laws and international best practice. Effectively managing the impacts and risks where displacement is unavoidable will limit negative outcomes, ensure we respect human rights, and support our license to operate.
Our approach to resettlement is managed by our Community Relations Management System (CRMS) and Community Relations Standard. Barrick has also developed a guidance note for sites contemplating resettlement to help them align with best practice.
When faced with resettlement, sites are required to develop a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP). RAPs are developed with input from the affected communities and local authorities. A comprehensive RAP includes an entitlement framework, comprehensive compensation standards, livelihoods development programs, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. These activities, complemented by continuous engagement, help us to deliver on our commitment to improve or, at least, restore the livelihoods and living standards of displaced families and communities.
In 2015, Barrick did not engage in any resettlement activities.
Relocation programs have been a constant element at the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) since the mine began operations, in order to ensure households are safely relocated away from the active mine area.
During the early stage of the mine’s life, landowners preferred moving close to or, where possible, within their existing customary land. Since commencing operations, the Special Mining Lease (SML) has experienced significant in-migration and population growth, to the point where a relocation approach that enables continued occupation on the SML is no longer feasible.
In 2012-13 the company undertook a comprehensive strategic review of relocation activities, with the aim of assessing whether to develop an alternative and improved process. The review was undertaken over an 18-month period and involved engagement with various local landowners and other stakeholders, and consideration of international practices and standards with respect to relocation.
The key recommendation of the review was to pilot an “off SML Resettlement” framework at Porgera. The essential difference in the two approaches (relocation versus resettlement) will involve moving from a “relocation” compensation based process to a ”livelihood” resettlement framework, which aims to facilitate improved social and economic outcomes for relocated households and, in doing so, significantly reduce the likelihood of landowners gradually moving back to the SML, which has been a significant issue under more recent relocation programs at the mine. (Further details on the differences between relocation and resettlement are below).
The term “pilot” is important in contextualizing this recommendation, as a number of significant challenges were identified that may impede the project’s successful implementation. Hence, the review recommends against attempting full-scale SML resettlement until such time as a pilot process of engagement, planning and implementation can be undertaken to determine and test the likelihood of successful resettlement.
The implementation of a resettlement project requires extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders, and in particular the landowners and PNG Government. As the pilot project is to proceed on the basis of a resettlement project incorporating both physical relocation and livelihood restoration, various issues and challenges will need to be collaboratively discussed with landowners and the PNG Government. Resettlement Committees established at the national, local and community levels will ensure consistent, transparent and broad dialogue throughout the development and implementation of the project.
In recognition of the various challenges and the need for extensive engagement with and support from various stakeholders, the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) recently completed an independent assessment of the resettlement framework evaluating its overall “do-ability” and “suitability” for use in the Porgera context.
The assessment report provided a detailed overview of the history of relocation at Porgera, the challenges of relocation and an opinion on the pilot resettlement framework’s “do-ability” and “suitability”. The report concluded by highlighting 11 opinions on important matters for the key stakeholders to consider during the development and implementation of a resettlement approach.
A second phase of the CSRM work involves the establishment of an Independent Observer Panel, consisting of three persons, including a resettlement subject matter expert, an extractive industry professional and a Senior PNG National. The observers are to play an important role in:
In light of the preceding, PJV’s commitment to resettlement must be expressed in terms of a joint Government, Landowner and PJV commitment to resettlement. Such a commitment will be formalized in agreements that outline the specific roles and responsibilities of all parties as well as core principles of what is being agreed and mutually supported.
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