Skip to main content

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 making their activities safer, healthier, and more profitable. Our work with artisanal miners is guided by our Community Relations Management System (CRMS).

ASM miners and their dependents constitute a unique part of the local communities where we operate. However, the presence of ASM operations sometimes involves significant challenges, including poor environmental, and 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, we support efforts to legitimize what is sometimes an illegal activity often conducted in poor and unsafe working conditions.

Peru

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 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 process will provide safer working conditions for the ASM community, as well as access to credit and markets.

To start this process, Barrick developed a socio-economic baseline with the ASM communities mining coal near Lagunas Norte and, in 2013, signed an Exploitation Agreement. This led to a partnership between the government, the ASM community and Barrick. The ASM community has gained formal recognition and is now legally able to mine.

A second group of artisanal coal miners working near Lagunas Norte, the Asociación Regional de Carboneros de La Libertad (ARCALIB), is now initiating the formalization process, with Barrick’s support.

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.

Our response to illegal mining is primarily driven by safety concerns – for both our people and the trespassers themselves. 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 people at risk. The level of criminal and violent behavior often displayed by illegal miners can also threaten both the local community and our people, 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.