With exploration activities around the world and eight operations on or adjacent to land owned or claimed by indigenous peoples, Newmont is committed to respecting and acknowledging the past and present traditional owners of the land on which our operations reside, deepening our understanding of indigenous peoples, and engaging with them to manage our risks and opportunities and build relationships based on trust.
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.
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.
As members of ICMM and active participants in RESOLVE’s FPIC Solutions Dialogue, we work to expand our understanding of successful approaches and best practices to translate FPIC into an effective site-based approach.
More information about the indigenous groups near our operations is discussed in the map above.
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 certain jurisdictions. 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, which may translate into reaching a formal agreement.
We published the report developed by the External Advisory Panel (EAP) that visited our Merian site in Suriname during 2016. Findings from the report, called “Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) within a human rights framework: Lessons from a Suriname case study,” are discussed in the featured case study. A panelist also met with members of our executive leadership team to have an interactive discussion on the study, FPIC and indigenous rights.
Based on findings from the report, we enhanced our approach for developing social baselines to give us a more complete view of the communities in which we operate. The new approach provides a stronger foundation for defining consent and aligning our engagement within the context of each jurisdiction.
We held a global workshop at the Midnite mine that included representatives from all regions and key functions. In addition to an in-depth discussions about how each region is applying our Indigenous Peoples Standard and sharing experiences on challenges and opportunities, the workshop included engagement with the Spokane Tribe of Indians and participation from a representative of a U.S.-based NGO that is focused on indigenous rights. Key outcomes from the workshop include greater awareness of the need to engage indigenous people and work to obtain FPIC; the need to improve systems and approaches earlier in the mine lifecycle to ensure we work to obtain FPIC before any impact occurs; the importance of inclusive and culturally appropriate engagement; and the value of working together to leverage experience, knowledge and capacity.
Notable activities during the year in our regions included:
- In Australia, Newmont partnered with Reconciliation Australia, an NGO, to develop a reconciliation action plan (RAP), which will allow us to be formally recognized for our ongoing commitment to aboriginal inclusion and diversity. Workshops were held at our Boddington, KCGM and Tanami operations, and a group was established to finalize the RAP, which will be launched in 2018.
- At our Tanami operation, the original agreement between Newmont and the Central Land Council (CLC), which was entered into in 2003, took into account the mature nature of the Tanami mine. The Tanami expansion project extended the life of mine by three years and created a platform for further growth and potential for a second expansion. With renewed confidence that Newmont will continue mining in the Tanami region until at least 2026, the CLC and Newmont worked together with the Warlpiri people (Yapa) to develop the Granites-Kurra 10-year plan. Activities during the year to support the plan included a cross-cultural immersion program delivered by traditional owners, which included an overnight tour in the Warlpiri community with the Tanami leadership team; lobbying the Northern Territory government to improve road safety; and engaging with the local Larjamanu and Yuendumu schools and learning centers to provide safety and technical advice for its mechanics workshop, and to develop training and employment pathways. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission highlighted the 10-year plan in a case study featured on its website.
- Because of planned near-mine exploration activities, Tanami conducted one of the largest heritage clearance programs since the mid-1990s. The CLC and about 30 Warlpiri elders and traditional owners participated in the process.
- An internal audit of the Moorditj Booja CPA Community Benefits Plan was undertaken, identifying the gaps and opportunities to fulfill CPA commitments. Work commenced to improve the CPA governance framework, one of the key gaps highlighted. The action plan is expected to be finalized in 2018.
- Our cross-functional Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Working Group in Nevada continued to engage with local Native American leaders as part of a quarterly dialogue process and together formed a Cultural Artifact Repatriation Taskforce, which includes representatives from both Newmont and Native American communities, to develop a process to transfer artifacts found on Newmont-owned property to the Western Shoshone.
- At the Midnite mine legacy site in Washington State, a new tribal community liaison officer began work in late 2017 and continued to coordinate engagement between tribal leadership, Newmont and other stakeholders. Development of the community engagement plan continued, and meetings were held to ensure questions and concerns about the site were addressed.
- In Suriname, we engaged professors at the University of Suriname to conduct social baseline studies for the Sabajo project using our new social baseline approach. The studies aligned stakeholder engagement processes and outcomes with FPIC requirements, including specific studies on traditional, cultural and land rights aspects.
- In Suriname, the Kawina tribal group claims the Merian operation and Sabajo project are located on their traditionally owned lands. Taking into account lessons learned from Merian and other sites, we developed a road map to work toward an agreement with the Kawina aligned with the principles of FPIC.
Globally, we will improve guidance on FPIC, incorporating lessons learned from the Merian case study, our experience, and input from the FPIC Solutions Dialogue and the group’s international webinar series, which it will introduce in 2018.
We will implement our approach to FPIC at our operations in Suriname and the U.S. as well as in Canada’s Yukon Territory where Newmont will take over the exploration and drilling program at the Plateau property in 2018. This includes continued engagement with the Kawina tribe’s traditional authorities and community leaders in Suriname; working toward an agreement with Native American tribes in Nevada on the management of cultural resources; and engaging with First Nations groups in the Yukon.
In Australia, we will finalize and launch the RAP and commence work on the commitment pillars.