Mining is subject to increased scrutiny in today’s society. As stakeholders share issues through social media locally and globally, expectations on mining companies for external disclosure and transparency have increased.
Obtaining and maintaining a social licence to operate goes beyond following national and industry regulations. It requires an understanding and response to a wide range of issues that matter to our stakeholders, and relies on building trusting, respectful relationships with all parties involved to address concerns and create mutually beneficial opportunities. Governments are demanding more from companies and increasingly placing responsibility for responsible social performance and sustainable development initiatives on industry.
Early, active and continuous engagement has become a standard best practice, with particular attention paid to water and land access, environmental protection, local economic development, jobs and the creation of sustainable local benefits.
Why Is This Important to Our Stakeholders?
Our stakeholders want us to minimize our negative social and environmental impacts on communities and maximize benefits through long-term partnerships with local communities and Indigenous groups. Often, before any impacts are realized, what people want most is information. Communicating how we work is a critically important step and must continue throughout the life of a mine. This means we must engage with communities early and understand their concerns and priorities. We have consistently heard that local communities want us to invest in local, sustainable development, and to contribute to development objectives through local hiring and procurement and community contributions. They also want us to integrate respect for human and Indigenous rights into our business management processes.
Why Is This Important to Us?
Building strong and respectful community partnerships is foundational to our success. Our staff and local communities are often one and the same. We often source from and work with local businesses. We are constantly aware that we operate on land that is of great importance for local populations and they entrust us to steward it carefully. Without community support, we cannot operate safely and sustainably. In the short term, having strong, proactive engagement with communities ensures continuous operation. Over longer time horizons, our operations can also be a catalyst for long-term sustainable development in surrounding regions, providing mutual benefits for us and the communities where we operate.
Understanding and addressing stakeholder concerns is essential to our ability to mitigate our impacts and identify positive opportunities to build sustainable value. Building strong, lasting relationships with those affected by our operations can improve our ability to identify and manage risks – and can even affect a project’s long-term viability.
Our main focus is to generate value for our stakeholders, build strong partnerships through active engagement, and make positive and long-lasting contributions in the communities where we operate. Our strategy builds on our Sustainability Excellence Management System (SEMS) standards to focus on three pillars: Sustainable Stakeholder Relationships, Sustainable Economic Benefit, and Human Rights. The foundation of this strategy is an integrated approach to risk management for all three pillars.
Our management approach to sustainability, corporate social responsibility and human rights is led by our Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability with specific accountability assigned to the Corporate Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. Additionally, each of our operations has sustainability managers and CSR/community relations teams.