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Working Conditions

Mining is a sector in which employees may not always have the right to just and favorable conditions of work.

Our industry operates in environments where the use of forced and child labor, particularly in local communities and in supply chains, persists. In these locations, freedom of association, and the right to participate in labor associations, also may be strained. Barrick is committed to upholding the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor, and to supporting the effective abolition of child labor. Barrick also supports the rights of workers to join a union or other labor association. We extend these commitments to our third parties.


Barrick’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (“the Code”), our Human Rights Policy, and our Policy with Respect to the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work set the tone for the maintenance of a safe and ethical workplace at all Barrick operations and offices. At Barrick, we support freedom of association, have zero tolerance for forced labor or child labor, and enforce a minimum-age requirement for our employees.


  • Barrick has not identified evidence of slave or forced labor, child labor or human trafficking on any Barrick-operated site. In 2017, Barrick’s human rights assessments will include an enhanced assessment of human trafficking.
  • In 2016, 3,000 employees received e-training that included specific material regarding child labor and modern slavery and human trafficking, including how to identify them on-site and in local communities, and where to report concerns where suspicions of child labor and modern slavery and human trafficking may exist.
  • In July 2016, we organized, with UNICEF Canada and the Government of Canada, a multi-sector working group to create a checklist related to the Voluntary Principles on Business and Human Rights and children’s rights.
  • In 2016, 95% of new suppliers received due-diligence screening under the Vendor Onboarding Standard. The onboarding process covers the Supplier Code of Conduct, Barrick’s human rights and anti-corruption programs, as well as adherence to the Company’s safety and environmental standards.

Freedom of Association

Barrick respects the rights of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining. This includes the right of each individual employee to join a union or other labor association. We have a number of facilities around the world with unions or bargaining associations, and roughly 36% of our workforce is represented by unions or collective bargaining agreements.

Due to our practice of communicating regularly with these associations, we have not had many significant labor relations issues involving our unions. Indeed, we strive to work closely with labor unions or collective bargaining associations to develop and manage effective labor relations programs. Depending on the requirements of the labor union or association, sites with union membership often have safety topics included in labor agreements. We consider activities and actions conducted by site safety and health committees to be essential to embedding a culture of safety within the Company.

For more information, see Labor Organizations.

Approximately 36% of our workforce is represented by unions or collective bargaining agreements.

Child Labor

Child labor is the employment of children that is economically exploitive, likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or likely to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development. The legal age at which young people may work varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Barrick does not knowingly employ a person who is under the legal age of employment or where that employment would contravene the International Labor Organization’s convention for age of employment. Barrick’s minimum age for employment is 18; therefore, our hiring practices preclude child labor at our sites in all countries where we operate.

Barrick’s most significant contributions to the effective abolition of child labor are our global investments in education, such as our partnerships with One Laptop per Child, the Public Education Foundation in Nevada, and our community infrastructure development projects that support schools, community centers and recreational areas. We include information on child labor in our human rights training, providing information to employees on how to identify and report concerns regarding child labor.

Forced Labor

Forced and compulsory labor is any work or service, not voluntarily performed, that is extracted from an individual under threat of force or penalty. This includes bonded or indentured labor, slavery or similar coerced labor arrangements. Barrick does not engage in any type of forced or compulsory labor at any of our operations or offices. In 2016, we introduced into our global human rights training a module on how our employees can identify and report concerns regarding modern slavery and human trafficking, whether internally or in our communities.

In 2017, Barrick’s human rights assessments will include an enhanced assessment of trafficking.

We readily acknowledge there are more steps we can take. These include thinking about additional approaches to identify modern slavery in our supply chain, and further educating our workforce on how to spot evidence of modern slavery in local communities. We also will continue to work with civil society and other experts to identify new approaches to address this global problem.