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Indigenous Peoples

Successful partnerships with Indigenous Peoples can contribute to more sustainable land management, and a stable operating environment.

ICMM Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining

These connections are tied to their physical, spiritual, cultural, and economic well-being. Considering the values, needs, and concerns of Indigenous Peoples in site activities is fundamental to our partnership approach and the way we do business. Doing so can support the development of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with those affected by our activities.

Sites where Indigenous Peoples have rights over or special connections to the land where mining-related activities are located are required to develop and implement an Indigenous Peoples Plan that outlines specific actions to engage, address impacts, and provide opportunities to Indigenous Peoples.

New projects and significant expansions of operations located on lands traditionally owned by, or under the customary rights of, Indigenous Peoples must also align their activities with the ICMM Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining. As a company, Barrick has committed to work towards obtaining consent from significantly impacted Indigenous Peoples for new projects and major changes to existing projects, aligned with the ICMM Position Statement.

Four of Barrick’s mine sites (Hemlo, Cortez, Goldstrike and Turquoise Ridge) are located near the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples. Barrick has formal agreements with the communities near these sites.  As well, the Pascua-Lama project is located near the traditional territories of the Diaguita people.

Western Shoshone in Nevada

The Cortez, Goldstrike, and Turquoise Ridge mine sites in northern Nevada exist within what was the traditional territory of the Western Shoshone people.

While ownership of nearly all of this traditional territory now resides with the United States government, Barrick believes that the Western Shoshone tribes and bands that are located near our operations should realize long-term benefits from the development of mineral resources on these lands. For this reason, Barrick entered into a “Collaborative Agreement” with a group of Western Shoshone Tribes and Bands.  The Collaborative Agreement is aimed at maintaining regular, ongoing engagement between Barrick and these Western Shoshone communities and sharing a spectrum of benefits derived from Barrick’s operations with this important stakeholder group.

Collaborative Agreement

The Collaborative Agreement between Barrick and the leaders of four Western Shoshone Tribes (Duckwater, Ely, Yomba, and Duck Valley) was signed in 2008. The South Fork and Wells Bands of the Te-Moak Tribe subsequently signed in 2011, the Elko Band signed in 2012, and the Te-Moak Tribe signed in 2013. While the Battle Mountain Band has not yet signed the Agreement, this community is included in virtually all of the Western Shoshone programs that Barrick implements or supports. All of the signatories agreed to an Update of the Agreement, which was finalized in 2014.

The Collaborative Agreement establishes a common vision of long-term engagement and collaboration between Barrick and the eight Western Shoshone communities near Barrick’s Nevada operations. Under the Collaborative Agreement, Barrick shares benefits with these communities through support of education and socio-economic development programs that benefit community members. The Collaborative Agreement does not require signatory tribes and bands to give up their rights to challenge or oppose any of Barrick’s current or proposed mining operations. Additionally, the Collaborative Agreement does not give Barrick any rights to exploration, development or operation of mineral deposits or mines, or access related to these activities. Barrick does not conduct any activities on tribally owned lands in Nevada.

Collaborative Agreement

The Collaborative Agreement establishes a common vision of long-term engagement and collaboration between Barrick and the eight Western Shoshone communities near Barrick’s Nevada operations.

Ongoing Engagement

Barrick maintains a program of frequent engagement with the Western Shoshone communities, including Quarterly Dialogue Meetings hosted by one of the tribes or bands. These meetings include council members, elders, members of various Advisory Committees, and Barrick staff and relevant consultants; they are also open to the broader Western Shoshone community. Barrick Native American Affairs staff and consultants also engage informally with the Western Shoshone communities on a frequent basis. This includes attendance at open council meetings to provide updates and discuss concerns or interests, meetings with council leadership, meetings with managers of and beneficiaries of tribal programs that Barrick supports, participation in and attendance at community programs and functions, working with Western Shoshone scholarship recipients, and other tribal activities.

Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation (WSSF)

The Collaborative Agreement established the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation, a registered non-profit foundation funded by regular donations derived from Barrick’s Nevada operations. The foundation currently has assets of over $7.4 million and funds higher-education scholarships. At the time of writing, the WSSF has awarded 1,410 scholarships to Western Shoshone students who attend universities, colleges, and vocational schools throughout the United States. The Foundation has granted $3.1 million since it was established and will continue to assist future generations of Western Shoshone achieve their educational goals.

Western Shoshone Cultural Advisory Group (WSCAG)

Under the Collaborative Agreement, Western Shoshone communities and Barrick established a cultural advisory group to provide input on exploration and mining projects and operations. The WSCAG is composed of elders and cultural leaders of the eight Western Shoshone communities. This group also acts as another forum for shared understanding between Barrick and the Western Shoshone.

Cultural Support

Cultural support includes Shoshone language programs within the communities: four community-based Western Shoshone language programs; Shoshone Cultural Language Institute (SCLI); and a dual credit Western Shoshone language course through Great Basin College.

Community Development Initiatives

Barrick supports a broad range of community development initiatives benefiting Western Shoshone communities, including programs focused on education, health, family welfare, and economic advancement.

Educational programs include a robust outreach and support program for Western Shoshone high school students to support paths to careers, including college and loan applications, tech and vocational education pursuits, scholarships, and internships. In addition, Barrick supports providing computer equipment, library facilities, after-school programs that include tutoring and mentoring, supplementary nutrition, family counseling on educational opportunities, youth leadership events, and educational infrastructure in the communities.

Health initiatives focus on diabetes, nutrition, elder care, sports, exercise, and recreation.

Family welfare support has included programs aimed at child welfare, seniors, domestic violence, substance abuse and community healing.

Economic development initiatives include business management mentoring and consulting for tribal businesses, comprehensive community planning, upgrading of tribal infrastructure including tribal buildings, housing, roads, water systems, communications and internet access, and the development of additional infrastructure.

Barrick supports traditional cultural activities undertaken by the eight partner communities, including pow wows, fandangos, and other traditional practices.  Cultural support also includes Shoshone language programs within the communities: four community-based Western Shoshone language programs, Shoshone Cultural Language Institute (SCLI); and a dual-credit Western Shoshone language course through Great Basin College.

The SCLI program brings high school–aged youth from Western Shoshone communities to Great Basin College every summer for a six-week residency program of language instruction and related cultural activities. In addition, the youth work with university staff to create Shoshone language resources such as children’s books illustrating traditional stories in the Shoshone language and a talking dictionary. These resources are made available to Western Shoshone communities for their use in community-level language and cultural programs. SCLI staff also provide teacher training for those teaching Shoshone in the communities.  

Diaguita Communities near Pascua-Lama

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.

First Nations Communities near Hemlo

Barrick’s Hemlo mine in northern Ontario is within close proximity of both the Pic Mobert and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (formerly Pic River First Nations).

Barrick has developed strong relationships with both communities and actively engages with them on a number of issues, including skills development and environmental stewardship. The relationship provides both First Nations with opportunities for labor contracts, consultation on site closure planning, and training and educational opportunities.

Community Agreements

We have agreements in place with Pic Mobert First Nation and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, which provide a foundation of positive working relationships, specifically with regard to information sharing, environmental impacts, community/cultural support, youth support, capacity building, training and employment. An Implementation Committee has been formed with both First Nations consisting of representatives from the First Nation and the mine.  The groups meet every six weeks to facilitate dialogue and maintain interactive relationships.

In October 2015, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with the Métis Nation of Ontario; the MoU’s objective is to establish a mutually beneficial, cooperative, productive, and ongoing working relationship between the mine and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO).

Environmental Monitoring

Barrick provides ongoing funding for both First Nations to employ environmental monitors, one from each local First Nation community.  Monitors work primarily in the First Nation, with only limited time spent at the mine site where they engage first-hand with Hemlo’s environment department in our sampling program and environmental monitoring program, when needed.