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Our Salient Human Rights Risks

Our Salient Human Rights Risks

Fundamental to how we manage human rights is understanding what the risks are.

Through our human rights program, we work to identify, assess and evaluate our salient human rights risks. Salient human rights risks are the identified areas of our business that have the propensity to cause impact from the realization of a risk occurring.

The program uses a wide range of internal assessments and external engagement processes including internal and independent assessments to identify risks. Our most important source of information to identify our risks are our stakeholders, particularly our host communities. We continuously work to build strong relationships grounded in a philosophy of transparency and continuous dialogue.

We also identify potential human rights impacts and risks through our grievance mechanisms, hotline reports and internal monitoring and evaluation processes, including independent human rights assessments, as well as internal and external audits.

Finally, we also participate in multi-stakeholder initiatives including the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and industry associations to broaden our understanding of where the risks for negative human rights impacts are most significant for mining companies.

Our Human Rights Assessment Program

The cornerstone of our approach to managing human rights impacts and risks is our standalone, independent Human Rights Assessment Program.

Each site is assessed on a periodic cycle of two to three years, depending on the risk level and the number and level of identified risks to the rightsholder. Each site’s risk level is determined by a range of factors including:

  • Strength and application of the rule of law within the country – The rule of law is what translates human rights from principle to reality. So, its strength and application is our first gauge of potential risks. The state is responsible for the protection of human rights and it cannot protect them without a strong rule of law.
  • Institutional strength of public security – Public security forces are mandated to protect and serve, and are responsible for upholding the rule of law. If they are not appropriately supported and funded, are not well trained or are insufficient in number, the application of the rule of law is compromised.
  • Levels of social disturbance or societal unrest and violence in the country or region – Human rights violations are often the root cause of societal unrest and conflict, which in turn usually results in further human rights violations.
  • Score on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index – Corruption and human rights violations are inextricably linked. Corruption impedes economic growth and diminishes the state’s capacity to finance the programs and institutions needed to enforce the rule of law and meet human rights obligations.
  • Presence of public security on site – The presence of public security on site can indicate disturbance or concerns or can suggest a non arms-length relationship between the site and public security, which could influence perception and impede the following of laws and the upholding of human rights.
  • Any history or allegations of security related human rights violations on site – Previous allegation of human rights violations increases the risk of further or future violations.
  • Frequency of trespass incidents on site – Frequent trespass incidents increase interaction between private security and the community and may necessitate use of public security forces, thereby increasing risks.

Elements of a Self-Assessment (Level 1 Sites)

Site self-assessments are undertaken in lieu of external assessments, particularly for lower risk sites. They are conducted by site teams and entail a series of 36 questions aimed to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to implement the Voluntary Principles.

Elements of a Third-Party Human Rights Assessment (Level 2 and 3 Sites)

These assessments are conducted by independent consultants and they form the foundation of our human rights due diligence. Each independent assessment follows structured UN Guiding Principles aligned methodologies to identify and prioritize human rights and risks on site. The assessments are informed and align to the requirements of an extensive range of frameworks, including:

  • UN Guiding Principles
  • ICMM
  • The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR)
  • UN Declaration on Human Rights (UNHR)
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • Core Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Child Rights Conventions

Some of the key elements of the assessments are:

  • Site visit by independent assessors who are experts in their field; review of site policies, procedures, training records, background checks and incident reports; interviews with private and public security forces to test knowledge of policies and procedures, as well as general human rights laws; and the use of force.
  • Interviews with community members to understand security arrangements and practice from the community perspective, as well as details on community relationship and engagement experience with mine personnel.

Often the human rights risks and impacts have been previously identified through our site self-assessment process, or at the planning and permitting phase during the ESIA process, and integrated into site level risk registers, and management systems. However, regular third-party assessments help to verify, clarify and supplement existing information, as well as any changes in risk or impact throughout the mine life cycle.

The focus of each assessment, whether a self- assessment or third party, is continuous improvement rather than one-time, standalone assessments. This approach allows for the tracking of actions taken in response to risks and potential impacts identified and assessing their effectiveness. The assessments also identify best practices and promote sharing across sites on how to best manage potential negative impacts.

During 2023, third party assessments were undertaken at: North Mara and Bulyanhulu in Tanzania, Loulo- Gounkoto in Mali, Jabal Sayid in Saudi Arabia, and Kibali in the DRC. A summary of findings from these assessments is available on our website.