Millions of people around the world maintain their livelihoods through artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).

Barrick has operations that are adjacent to thriving ASM communities, primarily in Peru. The individuals and groups engaged in ASM near our operations are important local stakeholders, and we work with them towards a safer, healthier and more profitable relationship.

Our Approach

At Barrick, we have an opportunity to contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of the communities in which we operate. ASM miners and their dependents constitute a unique part of these communities. However, the presence of ASM operations sometimes involves significant challenges, including poor environmental, health and safety practices; heightened security risks to neighboring communities and operations; child and forced labor; inequitable distribution of benefits in communities; and an illegal trade in minerals. Given these complexities, our approach is to support efforts to legitimize what is sometimes an illegal activity – often conducted in poor and unsafe working conditions – but which drives the local economy.


It has been estimated that approximately 50,000 families are involved in ASM in Peru, most of them in rural areas, including the area near our Lagunas Norte mine. Historically, artisanal mining in Peru has often been unregulated.

As part of our community engagement activities, we supported the artisanal mining formalization process launched by the Peruvian government. The development and legalization of artisanal miners through this formalization process will provide access for the ASM community to credit and markets, along with safer working conditions.

To start this process, Barrick developed a socio-economic baseline with the ASM communities near Lagunas Norte and, in 2013, signed an Exploitation Agreement. Following extensive engagement with both the coal miners and the regional government, in 2015 the formalization process was concluded and the coal miners were granted certificates from the government for mining operations.

In 2016, a second group of artisanal coal miners working near Lagunas Norte, the Asociación Regional de Carboneros de La Libertad (ARCALIB), started to coordinate with the site with the intent to formalize as well.  These discussions remain ongoing. 

Illegal Mining

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.

Date Download Description
May 6, 2015 files/design/bodybg/our-approach.jpg
2014 Responsibility Report

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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