Mining activities – including access to land and water, labor policies, and use and engagement of private and public security forces – have the potential to impact human rights by infringing on the rights of workers, communities and indigenous peoples. However, strong governance and policy frameworks can be established to respect human rights and translate mining activities into socio-economic contributions that help alleviate poverty, reduce illiteracy, improve critical infrastructure, strengthen capacity and empower communities for self-determined development.
Newmont believes that upholding fundamental human rights and respecting customs, cultures and values are critical aspects of good business and fundamental to sustainable development. Our Code of Conduct commits us to respect and promote the human rights of all people, and our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy includes an explicit statement that we will undertake human rights due diligence processes consistent with the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Guiding Principles) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Supporting our commitment to respect human rights are our standards on Human Rights, Cultural Resources and Security Performance – which detail the minimum requirements and mechanisms for monitoring our performance related to human rights risks, protection of cultural heritage resources and the use of security forces at our operations.
Our global Human Rights Standard and strategy provide guidance to our regions and sites to integrate human rights considerations into our stakeholder engagement and other business activities. All sites must maintain processes to identify human rights risks on an ongoing basis. For existing operations – or changes to existing operations that have a low risk to impact human rights – we integrate human rights considerations into existing processes, such as social impact assessments (SIA) or environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA), and employ operational-level grievance mechanisms to assess impacts and identify mitigation actions. For new projects – or changes to existing operations that have a higher potential to impact human rights – sites must integrate human rights impact assessment (HRIA) approaches into their SIAs or complete standalone HRIAs.
Prior to finalizing the standard, we engaged with a targeted group of external stakeholders to review it and also piloted it in two of our operating regions – Ghana and Peru. The review and pilots provided valuable feedback to ensure the standard was fit for purpose and implementable at the site level.
Newmont recognizes that all communities have a fundamental right to preserve their culture and heritage. We strive to engage early and often with communities to identify, protect and manage sites having cultural or heritage significance to local stakeholders. Our Cultural Resource Management Standard requires every site to develop a cultural resources management plan that includes a study of both physical and cultural heritage resources as well as intangible ones, such as traditions and livelihoods.
We voluntarily commit to the 10 principles set forth in the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and include contract provisions for suppliers related to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We participate in the UNGC Human Rights Working Group and Task Force on Business Engagement with Indigenous Peoples. To strengthen our approach to better understanding human rights issues over the longer term, we commit to report our human rights performance in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. As a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), we work toward advancing the industry’s approach to human rights.
We employ three primary mechanisms to monitor and track our human rights performance – our internal grievance process, external operational-level complaints and grievances (C&G) mechanism and registers and the Ethics Solutions Tool. Our C&G mechanism – which is required at all sites – aims to address stakeholder concerns in a timely and effective manner to avoid conflict and build trust. The Ethics Solutions Tool provides both our workforce and our external stakeholders a confidential channel to report any concern about compliance with our Code of Conduct, including potential human rights issues.
Our executive leadership team is ultimately accountable for establishing the policies and standards that guide our human rights performance with oversight and strategic development provided by our Board of Directors. Regional vice presidents, as well as general managers at each operation, are responsible for ensuring sites operate in a manner that respects human rights and for ensuring our operations comply with all laws, regulations, policies and standards related to human rights. Our cross-functional human rights working groups at the corporate, regional (as appropriate) and site levels are responsible for monitoring implementation of the human rights management plans. All sites have established working groups or have integrated human rights responsibilities into existing working groups. These groups serve to establish functional accountability for human rights risk management.
We are integrating due diligence on human rights risks into our risk management process to ensure Company leaders receive regular updates and reports on key risks, and to ensure the Board’s Safety and Sustainability Committee regularly reviews those risk areas within its committee charter. Senior management and the Safety and Sustainability Committee regularly review and discuss human rights topics, such as compliance with global standards, training and escalated complaints – including land disputes, security forces, community interactions and others – with potential human rights implications.
Due to potential security risks, we employ private security teams at our operations in Ghana, Indonesia and Peru and our Merian project in Suriname. Newmont is committed to respecting and promoting human rights while ensuring the safety and security of employees, contractors, visitors, facilities, equipment and materials. The right to security of person is one of our most salient human rights risks. We provide training on security and human rights to private security personnel working at our locations and to public security forces who may be coordinating with private security or providing law and order near or on our operations.
In addition to our Code of Conduct, our security approach is governed by our commitments under the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) and the UN Global Compact. Newmont is a formal participant in the VPSHR, and we commit to implement and promote the voluntary principles (VP) and annually report on our efforts. The VPs are designed to help companies in the extractive industries maintain safe and secure operations within a framework that respects human rights.
While we have standards and procedures and conduct extensive training to avoid security-related incidents with possible human rights implications, should such an incident occur, it must be recorded and, if found to be credible, reported to the appropriate external authorities as well as Newmont’s executive leadership team and the Board. Our Incident Investigation and Reporting Standard details the requirements for security incident investigations. All incidents involving a potential violation of the VPs are reported to the VPSHR plenary.
Guiding our approach is our security strategy, key elements of which are:
- Engagement – working with NGOs, government groups, and embassies representing countries that are signatory members of the VPs, and engaging with community members to build and improve relationships;
- Influence – seeking opportunities to reduce the potential for conflict by promoting improved standards related to security providers, and encouraging governments where we operate to participate in the VPs;
- Transparency – publicizing our security contracts as well as our commitments to the VPs and responding to information requests from stakeholders in a timely manner; and
- Training – conducting briefings, workshops, seminars and formal training sessions for our private and public security teams that create awareness and understanding of the VPs and related human rights considerations.
In support of our human rights strategy, we worked on a number of fronts to better integrate human rights considerations into the business.
We implemented our Human Rights Standard in 2015, completed gap assessments against the standard at all sites, developed action plans and conducted training to support compliance with the standard. The gap analyses identified the need for sites to establish stakeholder engagement processes and implement risk management systems to better identify changes in human rights risks. All sites are working toward addressing these gaps. In 2015, two operating sites – Ahafo in Ghana and Yanacocha in Peru – completed human rights reviews. All sites are on schedule to be fully compliant with the standard by the end of 2016.
As early adopters of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, in 2015 we engaged internally across regions and functions and externally with human rights experts and key stakeholders to identify our top salient human rights risks. We held a cross-functional corporate workshop to identify an initial set of potential human rights issues, which was followed by sessions with regional and site teams to determine the severity and likelihood for each issue. Out of the 26 potential human rights issues initially identified, we found that all are important but seven are considered our most salient human rights risks, and we discuss each one in more detail throughout this report. To learn more about our performance and how we manage and address these risks, click on the human rights issue below:
Shift – one of the organizations that facilitated the development of the Reporting Framework – worked closely with us on implementation of the Reporting Framework.
We improved our complaints and grievances (C&G) mechanism and processes by implementing a systematic categorization for all complaints and grievances registered and began initial work to employ a more consistent method to identify and categorize those C&Gs that are either registered as human rights issues or have the potential to be human rights related issues.
During 2015, a total of 24 grievances or allegations related to human rights were reported; 23 were resolved during the year; and none were addressed from a prior reporting period. These matters can be reported to Newmont though various means including our site C&G registers, human resources department or online Ethics Solutions Tool. Details on these grievances or allegations are discussed in the following table.
|Type of grievance or
|Number of human rights
grievances or allegations
|Description and location by country|
|Discrimination in the workforce related to gender, race, age and/or sexual harassment||5||
Nevada reported four allegations and Australia reported one allegation related to discrimination in the workplace. All five allegations were investigated using various means, including teams from human resources and members of senior management. The matter in Australia was investigated by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), which was not able to substantiate the claim. The four allegations in Nevada resulted in employee discipline, up to and including termination.
We did not receive any grievances or allegations of child labor violations.
|Forced and compulsory labor||0||
We did not receive any grievances or allegations of forced or compulsory labor violations.
|Land rights (non-indigenous)||2||
In Ghana, a community member reported Newmont to the Ghanaian Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice alleging that we owed rent for land used to accommodate local police. We fully investigated the issue and reached a resolution with the complainant. The Commission determined the allegation was not a human rights violation.
In Peru, we continued to work toward resolution of a land dispute related to the family of Maxima Acuña de Chaupe. These efforts are described in more detail in this section.
No grievances were reported relating to indigenous land or resource use. However, at our Long Canyon project in Nevada, tribal monitors reported issues related to an employee. The matter was investigated, and Newmont worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and tribal monitor to resolve the issue.
In Ghana, we received an allegation that a security guard assaulted an employee. The allegation was fully investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.
In Australia, there were 14 allegations of bullying in the workplace. After the allegations were investigated, three were found to be unsubstantiated, 10 led to disciplinary actions and one resulted in termination of employment.
In Ghana, during a community engagement activity, an employee alleged harassment by the traditional authority. Newmont took the necessary steps to ensure the employee’s safety and wellbeing.
At our Yanacocha operation in Peru, we continue to seek resolution to a complex land dispute with the Chaupe family. We brought in independent experts to conduct a fact-finding process, which is guided by an external advisory panel, to evaluate compliance with international best practices and assess allegations of human rights violations associated with the dispute. As part of this effort, the independent experts and Newmont engaged with a number of NGOs including Oxfam America, Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme and Amnesty International to provide status updates.
We define “significant investment agreements” as those agreements with governments that enable the development of a mine or advance exploration activities within the country. In 2015, Newmont entered into one significant investment agreement with the government of Ghana. However, this agreement did not include any human rights clauses.
We completed annual training based on security and human rights at our sites that employ private security personnel and those where public security forces are active in and around our operations. We recorded and addressed all complaints and grievances received related to human rights.
|Region||Site/Location||Total number of
|Percentage of security personnel trained||Cumulative hours of training|
|Africa||Ahafo, Akyem and Accra||1,080||100%||1,988|
|* Note: The numbers reflect the total attendance counted at all of the training sessions held in 2015. Many people attended several sessions during the year and were counted more than once to calculate the total hours of training. Yanacocha has, on average, 511 security personnel on site, including 25 full-time Newmont employees, 380 contractors and 106 government personnel.|
In 2015, there was one significant security-related event. A trainer working for the private security firm that provides services to Surgold, Newmont’s subsidiary that operates the Merian project in Suriname, shot and wounded two small-scale miners who illegally entered the Merian site in July. Following the Surinamese Police Corps investigation, Newmont conducted a review of Merian’s security protocols and training programs, focusing on human rights compliance. Following this review, we implemented an action plan – which includes additional training and engagement with community members and small-scale miners – to address the findings.
As a member of the VPSHR, we encourage host governments to join the organization and engage in mutual learning on security and human rights. In the regions where we operate, the governments of the United States, Australia and Ghana have been participants since 2000, 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2015, we served on the government of Ghana’s Implementation Steering Committee to help Ghana – which is the first African country to join the VPSHR – implement the VPs. In 2015, our Akyem operation hosted international NGOs, including Fund for Peace, Democratic Control of Armed Forces and the Community Development Association, on a site visit to observe how the operation trains and equips private and public security forces to protect operations and communities in a way that respects human rights.
We will continue to work toward advancing our systems, investing in processes and developing a deeper cross-functional understanding of our human rights impacts with the goal of reporting our performance in ways that are meaningful to our stakeholders.
Key focus areas in 2016 will be:
- Continuing to implement our Human Rights Standard by conducting human rights impact assessments and integrating human rights into existing processes such as social impact assessments, grievance mechanisms and stakeholder engagement activities;
- Improving monitoring, tracking and data collection of salient human rights risks to further advance conformance with the Reporting Framework by the end of 2016;
- Improving governance through a new supplier screening program to ensure human rights performance within our business relationships;
- Assessing human rights due diligence best practices associated with high risk business relationships with the aim of identifying audit processes for implementation;
- Integrating human rights into our Integrated Management System (IMS) in 2016, in order to proactively identify risks to the business as well as people and the environment by 2017;
- Integrating human rights risk reviews into site-based risk assessment processes; and
- Implementing standalone or integrated human rights impact assessments (HRIA) at all sites.
Accurately assessing the risks present in our operating environments is a key element of implementing the Voluntary Principles (VP). Our security target measures the development of security and human rights risk assessments, which form the basis for the development of critical control management plans.
|Year||Target Definition||Target for Sites||Target for Newmont|
|2016||Security risk assessments pertaining to human rights are completed, issues and potential impacts identified, and, where necessary, mitigation strategies and controls have been considered, and required training is scheduled and provided||100% of operating, project and exploration sites have completed a security and human rights risk assessment in the required format||100% of applicable sites have completed required training in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights|
|2017||100% of identified High and Extreme threats have a Critical Control Management Plan. 80% of identified actions have been actioned||
100% of risk assessments
A valid sample of Critical Control Management Plans
|2018||100% of identified Moderate, High and Extreme threats have a Critical Control Management Plan. 95% of identified actions have been actioned|
In 2016, we will begin to implement our refreshed security strategy, which aims to build an even stronger security program. Among the strategy’s implementation activities in 2016 are completing threat and vulnerability assessments; partnering with an international NGO to conduct independent audits on the VPs at select sites; and establishing a Security and Social Acceptance Committee (SSAC) to improve governance and support implementation of the strategy.
All sites that employ security forces will develop an action plan to conduct security risk assessments using a standardized template and methodology consistent with the VPs.