With eight operations on or adjacent to land owned or claimed by indigenous peoples and exploration activities around the world, the rights of indigenous peoples is one of our salient human rights issues. Deepening our understanding of indigenous peoples and engaging with them are key to managing our risks and opportunities.
Our commitment to recognizing the unique rights and social, economic and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples is stated in our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy. This policy also reflects the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) position statement to work to obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples.
Our Indigenous Peoples Standard defines how we will work to obtain the consent of indigenous peoples for new projects – and changes to existing projects – on lands traditionally owned or customarily used by indigenous peoples. Through the principles of FPIC, indigenous peoples are able to freely make decisions without coercion, intimidation or manipulation; given sufficient time to be involved in project decisions; and informed about a project and its potential impacts and benefits.
We participate in the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Human Rights Working Group and Task Force on Business Engagement with Indigenous Peoples, and we are an active participant in RESOLVE’s FPIC Solutions Dialogue, which brings together companies, NGOs and community leaders to help translate FPIC into site-based practices.
Through employment and business development opportunities, training and education, cultural heritage support, and cross-cultural awareness training, we aim to improve our understanding of and create benefits for indigenous peoples who are the traditional owners of the land on which we conduct mining activities or who reside near our operations.
Click on the map below to learn more about the indigenous groups with whom we engage:
An important development during the year was a visit to the Merian mine in Suriname by the expert advisory panel (EAP) formally constituted in 2015 to help us identify and apply best practices and inform practical thinking around operationalizing a free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) framework. The panel’s two primary tasks are, first, to advise Newmont on community engagement practices that support operationalization of FPIC within a human rights framework and, second, to build broader knowledge and understanding of relevant human rights standards in the extractive industries by documenting their observations and recommendations in a public report and sharing lessons learned.
Ahead of the visit, panel members engaged with company personnel familiar with the site context. During the visit, the panel held discussions in Paramaribo with representatives from the Pamaka traditional authority, the government, Newmont and outside consultants. While at the Merian site, the panel met with community relations staff, site managers and local employees. The panel also visited three Pamaka communities along the Marowijne River, including Langatabiki, which is the village nearest the mine and the seat of the Pamaka’s tribal chief.
At our Tanami operation in Australia, we collaborated extensively with the Central Land Council (CLC) to develop a 10-year strategic plan to support the long-term success for the Warlpiri people. The first of its kind, this long-range plan includes an integrated approach to collectively strengthen the Warlpiri people’s governance, education and employment opportunities. The plan also details how Newmont and the Warlpiri people will interact and work together to achieve the plan’s objectives.
We also supported a CLC-run project that converted the Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area (STIPA) management plan for the vast Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected area near the Northern Territory’s southern border with Western Australia into a digital storybook created by the Warlpiri people. The multimedia digital storybook is available online in both English and the Warlpiri language, and uses images and video to ensure that the understanding of the management plan transcends language.
The need for an earthworks contract at the Woodcutters legacy site turned into an opportunity for indigenous procurement and employment. After a rigorous tendering process in 2016, Rusca Bros Services Pty Ltd., a 100 percent locally owned indigenous civil, mining and recruitment organization with 40 years’ experience and a strong focus on indigenous employment, was awarded the contract. Over a six-month period in 2016, around 90 percent of the workers on the project were indigenous, working for more than 18,000 hours without injury.
Other activities in 2016 include:
- The voluntary Moorditj Booja Community Partnership Agreement (CPA) among Newmont, the Gnaala Karla Booja native title claimants and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) received the merit award in the Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum’s inaugural Community Partnership Award.
- Our Nevada operations held quarterly Native American dialogue working group meetings with members from Western Shoshone and Confederated Tribes of the Goshute. The meetings advanced discussions related to cultural artifact preservation on Newmont-owned property as well as educational pursuits for tribal members. Scholarship awards were given to several tribal members for full-time enrollment at Great Basin College in the 2016–2017 academic year.
- All sites where indigenous peoples live on or near our operations developed an implementation plan and begin measuring their performance against our Indigenous Peoples Standard.
Number of Newmont operations situated on or adjacent to any land over which an indigenous group claims use rights or ownership
Number of sites that have formal agreements with indigenous communities*
* We have formal agreements with indigenous communities in jurisdictions where required by law. In areas where common or standardized frameworks do not currently exist, we work with indigenous communities and other key stakeholders to determine the best approach. If that translates into working together to reach a formal agreement with them, then we will do so.
We expect to publish the report we commissioned on “Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Within a Human Rights Framework.” This report will be based on the final findings issued by the external advisory panel (EAP) that visited our Merian site in Suriname during 2016. The report will be shared with participants in RESOLVE’s FPIC Solutions Dialogue, which is focused on the practical application of FPIC in the extractive industries.
As the Moorditj Booja Community Partnership Agreement at our Boddington operation in Australia reaches the midway point of its 20-year term, we will begin a comprehensive audit in 2017 against the agreement’s outcomes. The audit results will inform the development of an action plan for the agreement’s remaining 10 years.
At the regional level in Australia, Newmont will partner in 2017 with Reconciliation Australia, an NGO, to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan, which will allow us to be formally recognized with a certificate for our ongoing commitment to aboriginal inclusion and diversity.
Our cross-functional Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Working Group in Nevada will focus on implementing a plan that details community, employment and business opportunities in the region for Native American groups.
At the Midnite mine legacy site in Washington, we will engage with the Spokane Tribe of Indians and support the tribal community liaison officer’s efforts to implement the site’s community engagement plan.