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Community Relations

Barrick’s operations can lead to both positive and negative impacts on the people and communities near our mines.

A mine can bring increased economic activity, create local jobs, develop much-needed infrastructure, and provide tax revenue that helps support local governments in delivering services. Mining can also contribute to social change, use scarce resources and contribute to an unsustainable influx of people into a community. At Barrick, we know that our ability to operate depends on our relationship with host communities and governments. As such, effectively engaging with local communities is as important to us as any other part of the business and is vital to the success and sustainability of our business.


At Barrick, we believe strong relationships with communities are about getting the simple things right: managing our impacts (such as dust, noise and traffic), doing what we say we will, resolving grievances, and buying and hiring locally.

This approach is driven by a Community Relations Policy, which is supported by a Community Relations Standard along with procedures, guidelines, toolkits and comprehensive audits. Together, these form Barrick’s Community Relations Management System (CRMS). The CRMS creates explicit performance requirements for community relations at Barrick projects and operations. It helps our sites get the simple – and important – things right and live up to our commitment of creating long-term mutual benefit in the communities where we operate.

CRMS Workflow


  • While we had no severe community incidents in 2016, we did experience minor social incidents, including protests and NGO campaigns near a number of our sites.
    • For example, the September 2016 incident at Veladero (link) renewed strained relations with the community of Jachal. In response, the site has worked to strengthen the engagement and social investment strategy. The company is also working to optimize local employment and procurement opportunities in the communities of Jachal and Iglesia near Veladero.
    • Another incident, near the Pascua-Lama project, saw environmental groups in Alto del Carmen print material alleging the company discharged contaminated water following an avalanche that affected the project’s water management system. The project team conducted an intensive engagement campaign with local governments, communities and the media to clarify that the water was not contaminated. The site has since 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.
  • In 2016, Barrick revised the Community Relations Standard so that it is aligned with the decentralized company structure. The revised Standard shifted the focus from systems and processes to helping sites assess their outcomes and effectiveness.
  • A License-to-Operate (LTO) Scorecard has been launched as a first step in developing “Best-in-Class” practices in the LTO group. The Scorecard measures the ability of sites to operate within their external context, provides early warning signals of potential risks and whether key risks are being adequately managed. Through this tool, sites will be able to quantitatively demonstrate how building community support directly contributes to Barrick’s business objectives.
  • The company completed community relations audits at three sites (Lumwana, Lagunas Norte and Pierina) in 2016. A common theme across the audits was the importance of long-term strategic planning and the challenges around increasing the amount of local content at sites.

Priorities in 2017

  • Zero severe incidents involving local communities at the sites Barrick operates.
  • Revise the Community Relations audit protocol to align with the revised Community Relations Standard. Six audits focusing on site effectiveness and outcomes will be undertaken in 2017.
  • Update the CR Strategy in line with the new Sustainability Vision.
  • As part of the rollout of the LTO Scorecard, conduct at least two stakeholder perception surveys at 90% of our sites.

Community Engagement

Our community partners expect and deserve the opportunity to have a voice in decisions that affect them. This means providing accessible information about our operations, including social, economic and environmental impacts, as well as providing access to company officials who will listen and act on community concerns. Showing respect to local stakeholders is essential in developing long-term and trust-based relationships, which in turn can facilitate permitting and approvals and promote a more stable operating environment.

Each year, as part of the annual assurance process associated with our membership in the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an independent, third-party consultant completes site-level stakeholder interviews in at least two of the countries where we operate. Site-level stakeholders include community members, local landowners, local business people, Indigenous Peoples, local government officials, and women’s groups. Results of these stakeholder interviews, along with a detailed assurance report and recommendations, are reviewed at a senior level within the company each year.

Barrick’s Community Relations Management System (CRMS) helps sites build and sustain strong relationships by providing the guidance and tools on engagement best practices, identifying the key outcomes we seek to achieve and measuring the effectiveness of our engagement activities.

100% of our sites have stakeholder engagement plans

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Grievance Management

An effective grievance mechanism allows local communities to communicate their concerns and issues directly to Barrick so that they may be resolved. This allows our sites to take early action to resolve any issues before they grow into a serious social incident.

Since 2012, all our sites have had operating grievance mechanisms. We are now focused on strengthening and improving the effectiveness of these grievance mechanisms.

In general, the types and number of grievances vary significantly between sites. At the majority of our sites, grievances are primarily related to contractor behavior and demands for local employment, local procurement, and contracting opportunities.

In 2016, our sites received 207 grievances and resolved 216 grievances, including cases carried over from 2015. At the end of 2016, 22 grievances remained outstanding.

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Context-Specific Elements of the CRMS

Barrick operates mines in highly diverse social, economic and political contexts. As every community where we operate is different, the CRMS has been designed to respect the unique context of each site by setting minimum performance standards but otherwise leaving sites to determine the most appropriate and relevant approach to guide their planning and implementation efforts. Certain activities, such as stakeholder engagement and grievance mechanisms, are required at all sites, whereas context-specific elements are required only at sites where they are relevant.

These include topics such as: