A company of Barrick’s size is faced with myriad social, environmental and economic issues on which it could report.
Under the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines, organizations focus their reporting on matters that are specifically material to them and provide greater depth on those subjects. This helps ensure we are reporting on issues that matter to and could have a material impact on both our stakeholders and our business. We identify these issues through the following four-step process.
We first identify a range of potential issues in the context of our social, economic and environmental impacts, based on input from internal and external sources.
A topic may be material and relevant for reporting as a result of our own activity, including from our operations, closure properties or employee conduct, as well as from external activity, such as from suppliers, peer companies or joint-venture partners. We therefore consider our full value chain when assessing potential issues to report.
Each topic is assessed on a materiality matrix in terms of its importance to our stakeholders and the potential impact on Barrick’s business. We rank the issues based on the frequency with which they are identified by internal and external sources. The ranking of each issue is also reviewed and approved by senior decision-makers at Barrick. This process allows us to prioritize the issues in terms of low, medium and high importance.
In 2015, seven material issues of high importance to both Barrick and our stakeholders were identified through this four-step process. An additional eight issues were identified as having medium importance. We report on all of these issues in accordance with the GRI-G4 Core reporting framework. We also report on some additional topics identified to be of low reporting priority where needed, in accordance with regulatory or other reporting requirements.
Why is this material? Barrick’s operations can have both positive and negative impacts on one of our most important partners—the people living in communities near our mines. A mine can bring increased economic activity, create local jobs and provide tax revenue that helps support local governments in delivering services. Mining can also contribute to unwanted social change, use scarce resources and contribute to an unsustainable influx of people into a community.Our business depends on developing stable and respectful partnerships with the communities near our mines. We believe it is important to report on how we strive to act in a respectful manner, engage in transparent and open dialogue and work to share the benefits of mining. When we get this right, we earn the trust of our community partners, maintain access to resources and help ensure a stable operating environment.
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Why is this material? Mining is an energy-intensive business. Energy is used at every stage of the mining process and represents a significant portion of our overall costs. We consider climate change to be a company, community and global concern, and recognize the link between our energy use and this global challenge. When we effectively manage our energy use we can reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, achieve more efficient production, reduce our draw from local energy grids and reduce our direct mining costs. For these reasons, we see effective management of our energy use and transparent reporting on our progress as a business imperative.
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Why is this material? Mining is a water-intensive industry. All of our partners—and especially local communities, employees, and governments—rightly expect that we will responsibly manage this shared and vital resource. How we do this is guided by stringent government regulations as well as our own robust performance standards and policies. We believe it is important for communities, governments, employees and other partners to understand how we use, manage and conserve water and to provide them with detailed information on our water use. Doing so is consistent with our commitment to transparency and ensures that others understand our progress in managing this important and shared resource.
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Why is this material? Mining involves the removal and processing of ore. After processing, mine tailings may be produced and stored in engineered tailings storage facilities (TSFs). If not properly managed, TSFs can potentially fail and lead to harmful impacts on the environment and communities. This is why we manage our TSFs under rigorous standards and requirements, including design principles, inspection protocols and independent assurance audits. These help us design and monitor TSFs in line with international best practice.
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Why is this material? Barrick operates mines in highly diverse social, economic and political contexts, including locations where human rights may not be fully recognized or respected. Wherever we operate, we will respect the human rights of all stakeholders impacted by our operations. Both we, and the communities near our operations, benefit when human rights are respected. For communities, the more members experience law and order, the rule of law and other human rights, the more they will demand such rights from governments, companies and others. This in turn can lead to improved livelihoods, personal security, personal freedoms and other rights every person should maintain. For Barrick, this means the risk of disruption to our activities is reduced, reputation damage and legal action are avoided, that we operate in a way that is consistent with our core values of respect and integrity and, most importantly, that we are part of a community defined by mutual respect. It is therefore our belief that responsible economic development has the potential to – and indeed should – contribute to the demand for, and elevation of, human rights.
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Why is this material? Mining can be dangerous. Exposure to mining equipment, harsh weather conditions, loud noises, potential rock falls, dangerous chemicals, confined spaces, trips and operator error can all contribute to workplace injuries. For Barrick, nothing is more important than the safety, health and well-being of our workers and their families. A safe and healthy workforce goes hand in hand with our operational success. Therefore, we think it is essential to report to our stakeholders—who include our own employees—how we are working to fulfill our commitment of "Every person going home safe and healthy every day."
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Why is this material? Our business depends on strong partnerships with host governments. As a heavily regulated industry, mining-related rules and laws are present at every stage of the mine life cycle—from regulations allowing access to land for exploration, to permits for mining, to royalty and tax regimes. Barrick’s operational success depends on stable, predictable and fair rules and regulations. Wherever we operate, we work constructively with governments at all levels to understand their priorities and interests. We believe that when we consider our government partners’ interests as our own, everyone—communities, host governments and our shareholders—stands to benefit.
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2015 Performance Summary (PDF)
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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