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Mining Sustainably for a Better Future

Annual Report 2021

Mining Sustainably for a Better Future

Mining touches more people and impacts more of everyday life than any other industry.

Barrick actively manages community development, the protection of biodiversity, respect for human rights and climate risk with the same rigor and diligence as our operations and finances.

These aspects are deeply connected and must be tackled holistically if we are going to make meaningful impact.

That is why our resettlement programs in the DRC have built alternative livelihoods as well as providing access to water and solar power to resettled communities, and why in Zambia our biodiversity and forest conservation projects also integrate poverty alleviation while providing the potential for carbon offsets.

Sustainability is often future focused however but the here and now are also critically important, and nowhere is this more evident than health and safety. Our goal is Zero Harm, making sure our people go home safely.

We have seen encouraging progress in many areas, including a 13% reduction in our total recordable injury frequency rate, certification of all operational sites to the ISO 45001 health & safety standard, and progress towards the implementation of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) across both operational and closed facilities. 

Unfortunately, we recorded two fatalities across the group in 2021. In-depth investigations, and detailed corrective action plans have been implemented but such losses remain a hard reminder of the need to continually invest in visible safety leadership at all levels and to embed safety-first behavior for every individual.

We are committed to being transparent and honest in our approach, to demonstrating progress and to finding creative and comprehensive solutions that protect nature without leaving behind any members of society.

Mining touches more people and impacts more of everyday life than any other industry. It is crucial to building a sustainable economy and Barrick remains determined to play its part in that. 

Honing our approach 

Our sustainability strategy rests on four interconnected features: creating economic benefits for all stakeholders, protecting health & safety, respecting human rights and minimizing our environmental impacts.

We have a bottom-up governance structure that empowers each mine to be responsible for managing sustainability, while also providing oversight and expert guidance at the group level. Our Environmental & Social Oversight Committee – one of our most senior management-level bodies – connects site-level ownership of sustainability with our Board, alongside regular interaction from the Group Sustainability Executive and Regional Sustainability Leads. We also tie incentive compensation for our senior leaders to the achievement of company-wide sustainability targets such as safety, community relations and environmental performance, human rights and anti-corruption.

As part of our commitment to transparency we also publish our Sustainability Scorecard, now in its third year, which shows how we define good practice and benchmark ourselves against peers.

Full details of our strategy and governance including our suite of sustainability policies, our stakeholder engagement practices and materiality assessment are available in the Sustainability section of our website. 

Our sustainability strategy

Sustainability Scorecard

At Barrick, we believe in measuring and transparently reporting our ESG performance.

From diversity to development we want to be clear about what best practice looks like, and to rate and benchmark ourselves in each area against peers and our own previous performance.

That is why, working with independent sustainability experts, we have developed our Sustainability Scorecard. This includes key performance indicators aligned to the four pillars of our sustainability strategy and is informed by the expectations of the United Nations Global Compact and relevant frameworks such as the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) and the Mining Principles (MPs) developed by ICMM (International Council on Mining & Metals), which we collectively refer to as the RGMP+.

The abridged Sustainability Scorecard is published here. The score is expressed as a ranking for each metric in quintiles to produce a score of 1 (top) – 5 (bottom). The score for each indicator was then summed to produce a total score against which we have graded ourselves using an A-E banding. 

The metrics to be included are reviewed and updated each year to promote constant drive for improvement. For 2021, the grading key was updated to reflect a total of 22 measures, compared to a total of 17 measures in 2020.

The results show that Barrick received a B grade in 2021, unchanged from 2020. However, some notable improvements in indicators include ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 certification, development of Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) at all operational sites and improvement in water reuse and recycling rates. We automatically rank ourselves in a bottom quintile score on safety in the occurrence of a fatality.

Separate to this process, each operating mine also undertook self-assessments against the RGMPs and MPs and developed action plans to close identified gaps. Our 2021 Sustainability Report assurance process includes assurance against these action plans and their progress. Refer to the independent Assurance Statement for our progress against RGMP implementation.

Sustainability scorecard

Catalyzing Social Development

Mining can and should help achieve many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is an engine driving socio-economic development, helping achieve SDG 1: Ending poverty. The interconnection between SDGs has been a key theme for Barrick in 2021 and we have sought to build climate resilience in host communities through economic upliftment – from investing in education, to agriculture projects that support food security to ensuring groundwater provision.

In 2021, Barrick invested more than $26 million in community development projects around our mines including entrepreneurship training in Mali, support for students in Nevada and improved access to water in San Juan, Argentina. We allocate these budgets through Community Development Committees (CDCs) that bring together local stakeholders and put communities in the driving seat to allocate funds based on the specific communities’ needs.

Community investments are only one of four parallel ways in which we create value and deliver social and economic development for our host countries. We also do this by paying our fair share of tax, by prioritizing local hiring (78% of senior management were host country nationals in 2021), and by supporting local vendors through procurement and training.

We distributed over $12.3 billion in 2021 to our workforce, suppliers, host communities and beyond. As part of this, we spent approximately $5.5 billion on goods and services from local and host country suppliers in 2021, equating to 82% of our total procurement spend. Of this, $1.65 billion was spent on local suppliers from communities closest to our operations.

Where local or host country suppliers are not able to supply the products or quality we require, our site teams work to build capacity and improve standards through mentorship programs, skills training, or by providing loans to cover the cost of materials needed. The Emprende Alto initiative in Chile, for example, offers financial and technical support in areas like marketing and accounting to emerging suppliers. In 2021 this initiative supported more than 230 small businesses and entrepreneurs by investing over $1.2 million, supervised by the CDC.

Managing resettlement and grievances

An important part of our engagement with communities is our process to enable communities to formally lodge grievances. Our grievance mechanism helps us to understand and address any community concerns before they escalate and our goal is to respond to all grievances lodged within 30 days of receipt.

During 2021, we received 447 grievances across all regions. Full details of this mechanism will be available in our upcoming 2021 Sustainability Report. During 2021, we also undertook resettlement planning and engagement at our Kibali and North Mara mines. Those community members to be resettled are given the option of having a house built for them, or to receive funds to build their own houses. We aim to avoid, minimize or mitigate the need for resettlement wherever possible but,  where it becomes necessary, we also seek to identify social development opportunities for the communities involved. For example, we offer resettled community members the option of access to micro-hydropower or solar power when building or receiving their new homes, alongside support for non-mining livelihoods and access to basic services. 

The net benefits of our malaria progam

As with most of our sustainability activity, our work to combat malaria in Africa is driven by fundamental business requirements.

Malaria accounts for as much as 20-25% of all worker absences every year and it is in the interests of our business, as well as the welfare of our workforce and host communities, that we take meaningful steps to eradicate malaria from the areas around our mines.

We have set an on-going target of a 5% year-on-year reduction in malaria incidence rates and during 2021, we spent more than $1.1 million on initiatives to combat the disease and achieved an 8% incidence reduction compared to 2020. Our efforts included:

  • Larvaciding within a 10km radius of our mines and distributing impregnated mosquito nets across communities.
  • Working with an entomology consultant to understand which chemicals will be most effective to spray at each site.
  • Training staff to ensure correct chemical spraying techniques and expanding the areas sprayed.
  • Providing insect repellent to night shift workers (who are at higher risk of exposure to the disease).
  • In some regions, providing prophylactic anti-malarial medication to our workforce during the four-month transmission season.

We have started to see real results in driving down malaria incidence at all our mine sites, helping combat absenteeism. In Kibali (DRC) incidence was down 18% in 2021 and has reduced eight-fold from a baseline taken when the mine was first built. Incidence at Lumwana (Zambia) and North Mara (Tanzania) reduced by at least 60% in 2021 underlining the effectiveness of our program.

Health & Safety

Mines are dangerous places to work and implementing robust safety management measures and creating a zero-harm culture, is a foundational value for Barrick.

We know we must work hard every day to keep our people and the communities around our operations safe.

We did not do that in 2021, and we recorded two tragic and fatal accidents in 2021, the first at Hemlo in Canada, and the second at Tongon in Côte d’Ivoire. Our response to these events is double pronged. At a site and operational level, we carried out full investigations to understand the root cause of each incident and implemented corrective action plans to prevent recurrence. On a human level, we have worked to provide support to the families of the victims and to their coworkers and extended teams on the ground.

We achieved our goal to certify all our operational sites to ISO 45001 standards by the end of 2021. At group-level we saw the total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) improve almost 13% year-on-year and by over a third since 2019. Our lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) shows a significant 24% reduction since 2019, but a slight increase on 2020. 

Taking preventative safety action in Nevada

Analysis of high potential incident (HPI) data at our Nevada Gold Mines complex this year showed that one of the most frequent incident types was Metal to Metal (M2M) ie incidents of interaction between heavy mobile equipment or light vehicles.

Fortunately to date the bulk of these incidents have been minor with no significant injuries. However investigating leading indicators and HPIs affords us the opportunity to identify trends and implement remedial actions proactively to ensure such events do not lead to injuries.

First the NGM safety team undertook a deep dive review of the root cause analysis from past incidents and identified three main contributing factors: poor communication, limited visibility, and lapses in judgement. Next the site established cross-functional teams – made up of operators, supervisors, superintendents, safety specialists, and led by the mine managers – and sought to identify any gaps or areas of concern. Then, the site created action plans to close out such gaps.

Finally, we developed a safety share exercise to raise awareness of M2M incidents at safety meetings and to get feedback directly from the operators as to their perspective and experience.

Encouragingly, HPI frequency at the complex improved quarter-on-quarter throughout 2021, and we had a 92% decrease from 13 M2M incidents in Q1 to just one in Q4. 

Combatting Covid-19 and supporting wellness

Throughout 2021, we continued our efforts to prevent Covid-19 transmission across all host countries and local communities by maintaining protocols such as hand sanitizing on entry, encouraging social distancing and using masks. We also have worked throughout the year to promote, obtain and roll out vaccines. Not just for our people, but also their families and the communities in which we operate, particularly at our operations in Africa which were left behind in the global vaccination drive.

As at the end of 2021, 59% of our people were fully vaccinated and a further 8% partially vaccinated, with the numbers continuing to increase daily. We have also supported our host governments and communities, and at Pueblo Viejo in Dominican Republic we were publicly recognized by the Provincial Ministry of Health for our contribution to the vaccination program.

In 2021, in the wake of Covid-19 we also increased our focus on mental health issues both inside and outside our mine gates. In the US for example, our mines have partnered with local non-profits such as Vitality Unlimited to bring behavioral health services to community members. Our Nevada Gold Mines complex donated $10,000 to each organization for individual, family, or group counseling services and has seen 76 individuals receive 114 consults with our partner providers since July 2021.

Mental health is just one aspect of our occupational health activity. In 2021, all our workers (100%) were covered by occupation health and safety programs which include regular medical checks for employees, job specific risk assessments, personal protective equipment (PPE) and using engineering controls and shift rotation to help minimize exposures to hazards. 

Respecting human rights and harnessing diversity 

Recognizing and respecting human rights has long been a fundamental value for Barrick.

It is embedded as one of the four key pillars of our sustainability vision and strategy and our approach can be easily summed up: we have zero tolerance for human rights violations wherever we operate.

Our commitment is codified in our standalone Human Rights Policy and informed by the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs), and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Our Human Rights Policy also sets out our commitment to recognizing the unique rights and social, economic and cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples.

It is a policy we implement on the ground via our Human Rights Program, which includes monitoring for human rights incidents and reporting them – including through our site grievance mechanisms, hotline reports and internal and external audits. It also includes due diligence that sees all our mines conduct human rights assessments on at most a three-year cycle. Those mines most exposed to human rights risks are independently assessed on a two-year cycle. In 2021, we undertook independent human rights assessments at our Kibali, Loulo-Gounkoto, Pueblo Viejo, North Mara and Bulyanhulu mines.

The Human Rights Program also entails training for all employees on our human rights expectations and additional specialist human rights training, and training on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) for highly-exposed workers such as security personnel. Human rights measures are also built into our supplier onboarding and due diligence process.

Human rights is an area we feel strongly about. In 2021 we published a stand-alone Human Rights Report detailing this program in full, including our roll out of online training for human rights during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure our commitment was not hampered by global lockdowns. This report also reflects on actions we have taken to remedy legacy situations that occurred before new management took over Barrick in 2019, as well as the systems we have or are putting in place to prevent any recurrence.

Embracing inclusion

We know a diverse workforce provides the wide range of thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to run a global company. At Barrick, our approach to diversity is to foster a supportive working environment in which all individuals realize their maximum potential. We employ the best people to do the job irrespective of gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religious belief or sexual orientation – a commitment codified in our Diversity Policy.

We have an aspirational target for women to account for at least 30% of the Board of Directors by the end of 2022 and, in 2021, 27% were female. In 2021, 11% of our workforce were female, an increase from 10% in 2020. 

Mining is historically a male-dominated industry and we also work to right the gender imbalance in the wider mining industry including through internal leadership initiatives targeted to support the development of female talent, raising awareness among local communities about the value of female economic empowerment, working with governments to remove barriers to employment and supporting alternative livelihood opportunities for women.

Responsible Environmental Stewardship

Our commitment to minimizing our impact on the natural environment is one of the four interconnected pillars of our sustainability strategy.

2021 was a year focused on execution and delivery on the environmental front with all operational sites achieving ISO 14001:2015 certification for their environmental management system, and our site-led teams reducing ‘Class 2’ (medium-level) environmental impacts by 38% compared to 2020, and recording zero ‘Class 1’ (significant) environmental incidents for the third consecutive year.

Building resilience

In the previous section, we discussed how many of our social development efforts are geared to building the resilience of communities to environmental degradation – from agricultural projects that ensure food security to boreholes that bring access to water. At the same time, we recognize that climate change, including shifts in temperature and more extreme weather, is likely to increasingly affect our operations in the years to come, and we are also building the resilience of our company to climate and wider environmental risks. Since 2019, we have worked to disclose against the requirements of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as part of our annual sustainability reporting.

Water Security

Access to water is a fundamental human right and we therefore carefully manage our use of local water bodies with the aim to have minimal negative impact on nearby communities. We see this as critically important to our business.

We take a risk-based approach to water management. Each mine has its own site-specific water management plan, which takes into account the different water sources available, local climate conditions and the needs of local users and of the mine. In regions identified as water scarce, we take particular care to monitor the supply of freshwater for local communities and the ecosystem, aiming to use low-quality water and to reuse as much water from our processes as possible. For mines where water stress is experienced as surplus, our approach focuses on diverting large volumes of water or storing it as clean water to discharge back into the environment.

In 2021, we reused or recycled 82% of the water used, surpassing our target of 80%. We also continue to report using the market-leading ICMM Water Accounting Framework (full details available in our upcoming 2021 Sustainability Report).

Climate resilience

Tackling climate change requires global collective action. Our GHG emissions roadmap sets a target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by at least 30% by 2030 (from a 2018 baseline), while maintaining a steady production profile. This is a target grounded in practical measures and does not rely on closing mines, lowering production nor aspirational technology.

In 2021 our total Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 7,112kt of CO2e, which was a reduction of more than 5% compared with our 2018 baseline. A key driver for this reduction was NGM’s execution of  Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that enable NGM to determine energy sources of the power consumed, allowing renewable or lower emissions sources to be prioritized.

Another key achievement of the year was the completion of work to set a baseline for, and engage with our supply chain on, Scope 3 emissions (emissions that are a result of our suppliers and value chain). This exercise revealed that Scope 3 emissions for our Tier One assets account for more than 40% of our total emissions and we aim to put in place a stretching reduction target for our value chain in the year ahead.

Safeguarding biodiversity

At Barrick we are conscious of the urgent action required to halt biodiversity loss and are committed to playing a positive role in the preservation of flora and fauna in our host countries. All our sites now have detailed Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) and associated Biodiversity Management Plans (BMPs) which document the Key Biodiversity Features in or impacted by a site, and the strategy to be adopted to minimize risks and maximize opportunities with the ultimate goal of achieving nonet loss.

In the US, sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea, we partner with NGOs, conservation groups, local authorities and communities to deliver positive biodiversity impacts in these regions. In Latin America, we are supporting work to restore wetlands and protect species such as the Andean cat, vicunas and migratory birds in the High Andes. One way we do this is through partnerships with conservation actors such as African Parks. We’ve long partnered with African Parks in the Garamba National Park in the DRC.

Garamba is Africa’s oldest national park and in 2022, we hope to realize a long-held ambition of re-introducing rhino in the park.

Last year we also undertook work to help fill a knowledge gap around what best practice reporting on biodiversity should look like for the mining sector and, looking ahead, we hope to work with the wider industry – through groups such as ICMM – to raise the bar on biodiversity action across the sector. More details on our environmental stewardship, including details of our approach and performance on waste management (including tailings) and air emissions are available in our upcoming 2021 Sustainability Report.


Barrick aims to be Net Zero by 2050 

Barrick has set itself the target of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 30% by 2030 with the ultimate aim of net zero by 2050, while maintaining a steady production profile.

The company has a clear roadmap for the reduction of emissions, which is based on climate science and operational realities. It does not rely on mine closures, production cutbacks or the hopeful expectation of reductions by suppliers or governments. The ultimate aim is net zero emissions but the roadmap has landmarked targets towards this goal based on practical and available options. The company’s target is not static, however, and is constantly reviewed and updated as further reduction opportunities are realised.

We have already allocated capital for projects that achieve 25% of our 2030 target with $800 million of further investment planned for developments such as the conversion of coal to natural gas (NG) at the TS power plant (TSPP) in Nevada, installation of solar capacity in Mali and Nevada, installing lines to cleaner renewable grids in Argentina and national grids in Tanzania as well as implementing battery technology and exploring new energy-saving assay methods in Tanzania. Each site also has a Climate Champion looking for new ways to further reduce emissions on site and in communities, from switching off lights to introducing electric vehicles.

Our reduction strategy is not static and we are constantly reviewing new decarbonisation opportunities and a detailed roadmap will be provided in our upcoming 2021 Sustainability Report. The implemented projects and other initiatives for which capital has been committed is shown below.

Barrick’s focus is not only about reducing the GHG emissions at its current operations but also about tracking and embracing new technology and innovation to ensure the new mines it builds in the future are designed to be industry leading when it comes to clean power.

GHG Emissions Reduction Roadmap1,2

Emissions reduction roadmap