The Diaguita are the main Indigenous group in the area of Chile where the Pascua-Lama project is located. They comprise nearly six percent of the regional population, amounting to some 10,000 Diaguita in the region.

Pascua-Lama is located 80 kilometers from the nearest Diaguita settlement, making them some of the project’s closest neighbors. Barrick continues to engage with the Diaguita and other local communities around the Pascua-Lama project to sustain dialogue and build greater trust; our emphasis is on transparent and open communication.

Memorandum of Understanding

Barrick took the temporary suspension of the Pascua-Lama project in 2013 as an opportunity to rebuild relationships, and ultimately trust, with the local community.

On May 29, 2014, Barrick announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a group of 12 Diaguita communities and three Diaguita associations in Chile’s Huasco province. While a number of these Diaguita communities have supported legal challenges against the project in Chile, the MoU marked a significant step forward in establishing dialogue and working to build trust with this important stakeholder group.

As part of the agreement, Barrick made technical and environmental information about the Pascua-Lama project available to the communities and provided financial resources and materials required to support an independent analysis of this information. This approach is in line with the company’s commitment to engage with stakeholders in an open and transparent manner while allowing the communities to study and better understand the project, its impacts and its environmental controls. Under the agreement, a Technical Committee was formed to oversee the work, composed of representatives selected by the MoU signatories. An independent mediator was also appointed. Under the MoU, the Diaguita communities used resources funded by Barrick in order to hire more than 30 independent technical experts to complete due diligence of Pascua-Lama.

While this marked a positive step forward in our relationship with Diaguita communities, roughly 30 percent of the Diaguita people organized in communities in the province did not participate in the MoU.

On April 8, 2015, the Technical Committee of the MoU approved the final report and common diagnosis on the Pascua-Lama project. In April 2015, the company and the participating Diaguita communities (including two additional communities) executed a new Environmental and Social Collaboration Agreement (the “Collaboration Agreement”). This Collaboration Agreement established an environmental fund to further review specific aspects of the project of special relevance to the Diaguita people, including the glacier-monitoring program, water-management system, anthropological and archeological information and ancestral territory. The Collaboration Agreement also established a social fund to contribute to the communities impacted by significant flooding that occurred in March 2015.

In the fall of 2015, as the Pascua-Lama transitioned to care and maintenance, meetings were initiated with the Diaguita leaders to discuss the impact of this transition on the Environmental and Social Collaboration Agreement (i.e., phase 2 of the MoU). The company decided to end the Collaboration Agreement with the Diaguita communities early in September 2015. The social fund investment was completed and a final report was approved by both parties. While the remaining environmental studies have not been substantially advanced, the Company is continuing to work with Diaguita leaders to pursue a long-term agreement, taking into account the current state of the project.

Throughout this process, the project team has been working to improve and enhance its community engagement practices, including with those communities that did not sign the MoU or the Collaboration Agreement. The local community relations (CR) team has submitted regular monitoring reports on impacts and mitigation plans to the Chilean authorities, including:

  • Quarterly monitoring reports on traffic, water, glaciers and social investment;
  • An annual Public Account to local communities and authorities on social and environment performance; and
  • Regular reporting on compliance with commitments to regulators, including grievances and engagement activities with communities.

The CR team also uses a variety of methods, including a grievance mechanism and regular engagement visits to the local communities, and having an office and staff present in the area of influence, to directly and better engage with local stakeholders. The site has expanded its site-visit program and launched online water monitoring so that everyone has access to information on the quality of water downstream of the project site. We have also made attempts to engage the Diaguita communities in a dialogue table. These steps reflect our good-faith effort to rebuild trust with communities around the Pascua-Lama project.

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

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