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Our activities throughout the mine lifecycle have the potential to impact the rights of workers, communities and indigenous peoples. While it is the duty of governments to protect human rights, we recognize our responsibility to respect human rights and the dignity of all people and to operate in a manner that does not infringe upon human rights. We also believe we can, and should, play a significant role in helping realize many human rights through contributions that strengthen capacity and empower communities.

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Read our Guide to
Respecting Human Rights

Human rights journey

Our commitment to respect the rights and dignity of all people is stated in our Code of Conduct and our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy, and our Supplier Code of Conduct requires all suppliers and business partners to adhere to this commitment as well.

Our human rights approach is aligned to a number of voluntary standards including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “Guiding Principles”) and the fundamental requirement that we do no harm. Newmont’s Guide to Respecting Human Rights provides an overview of our strategy and journey and includes details on:

  • The key principles that underpin our approach to managing human rights risks across the business;
  • Our policy and governance framework, including our Human Rights Standard that sets the minimum requirements sites must adhere to;
  • The primary mechanisms for stakeholders to raise issues related to human rights;
  • The tools we use to manage our salient human rights issues – those human rights at risk of the most severe negative impact through the Company’s activities and business relationships; and
  • Our commitment to report our human rights performance in accordance to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (the “Reporting Framework”), the first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on how they respect human rights in line with the Guiding Principles.

Assessments

All sites must maintain processes to address risks beyond those to the business by identifying and managing risks to people and their rights. For existing operations – or changes to existing operations that have a low risk to impact human rights – we integrate human rights considerations into our operations more broadly through building them into our existing robust risk management processes. This two-step process involves first reviewing existing risks and establishing whether there is a human rights element, and then determining if there are additional risks based on reviewing how our activities could impact the human rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The necessary critical controls are then established to manage the risk.

For new projects or for changes to existing operations that have a higher potential to impact human rights, sites must integrate human rights impact assessment (HRIA) approaches into social impact assessments (SIA) or complete standalone HRIAs.

Any human rights risk must be categorized as such in the company-wide risk register within our Integrated Management System (IMS), and reviewed on a regular basis.

Salient issues

We identify, monitor and manage the full spectrum of human rights risks and impacts on an ongoing basis; however, in alignment with the Reporting Framework, we focus our reporting on the seven areas we identified as our salient human rights issues. Our approach to managing each of these risks is detailed in one or more of the following sections throughout this report:

Security

With the right to security of person as one of our salient human rights issues, the basis of our global security program is working alongside host communities to protect people and assets and respect human rights. Due to higher potential security risks, our operations in Ghana, Peru and Suriname employ or contract with on-site security personnel.

As a formal participant in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) and in accordance with our Human Rights Standard, we commit to implement the Voluntary Principles (VPs), which provide an operating framework that enables us to maintain the safety and security of our operations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Security-related allegations and events must be recorded and fully investigated. Events found to be credible are reported to the appropriate authorities as well as to the VPSHR plenary, Newmont’s executive leadership team and our Board of Directors. We also annually report to the VPSHR on our efforts to implement and promote the VPs.

Training

All security personnel must complete annual training based on the VPs, and we encourage public security agencies to participate as well. Each site is responsible for conducting human rights training and designing the training to address the most relevant human rights risks. Some sites choose to extend the VP training to those who do not work in a security role, while other operations integrate human rights modules into training programs within other functions.

Because respecting human rights is a responsibility that belongs to everyone working on our behalf, we are developing an online training program that will raise awareness about our human rights commitments, our ability to impact human rights, and how we might prevent and address potential human rights violations. As part of our Supplier Risk Management program, we are also evaluating training requirements for those suppliers with identified human rights risks.

Partnerships and collaboration

Advancing our human rights journey requires collaboration through partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives. Along with our active participation in the VPSHR, we continue to share successes and challenges with early adopters of the Reporting Framework. Newmont representatives participate in several forums on human rights, including the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.

2017 Performance

Significant events

We continued work that began in 2011 to resolve a complex land dispute in Peru with members of the Chaupe family, who allege human rights violations by those working on behalf of our Yanacocha operation. During the year, engagement and constructive dialogue with the family increased and progress was made. While a fair and long-term agreement was not reached, we remain committed to finding a dialogue-based solution. Developments – including the findings from an independent, fact-based examination of the issues associated with the dispute that was published in 2016 – and our statements on the matter are publicly available on our website. In 2017, the Peruvian Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that acquitted the Chaupe family of “aggravated usurpation” charges originating from their occupation of Yanacocha property in 2011. However, the Court declared that the issues of land ownership and possessory rights must be resolved through the civil court process, where two cases are still pending. In October, Earth Rights International and the Chaupe family filed suit against Newmont in the U.S. federal court claiming human rights abuses and seeking compensation for damages.

In a similar matter, Yanacocha exercised its right to possessory defense under Peruvian law after efforts to engage in dialogue failed with members of the Pajares family, who illegally erected two structures on the mine’s property. Yanacocha applied lessons learned from the Chaupe case to implement a proactive strategy focused on engagement, communication, security and enforcing the law, including the use of human rights observers and Peruvian National Police to ensure the safety of Pajares family members and Company employees.

Complaints and grievances

During the year, we integrated into our IMS the ability to categorize and track all human rights-related complaints and grievances (C&Gs) and risks. There were nine grievances or allegations related to human rights reported and addressed during the year managed by our security and human resources function with support from other departments, as necessary, and 24 different allegations with human rights implications were tracked through the Ethics Solutions Tool.

Human rights grievances or allegations filed, addressed and/or resolved in 2017

Assessments

As of the end of 2017, all our regions had completed, or were in the process of completing, human rights risk assessments. Ghana developed a human rights management plan, which was shared across all our operations as an example of good practice, and two sites – Merian in Suriname and Yanacocha in Peru – conducted standalone HRIAs. Findings and insights from these assessments are discussed in the featured case study.

Training

During the year, 2,779 employees and 3,131 contractors participated in various human rights training modules. Human rights topics were addressed in a variety of ways ranging from cross-cultural educational sessions, human resources and social responsibility inductions to modules within annual refresher courses. Training sessions focused on human rights topics ranged from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the site’s risk profile and the needs of the audience. This training was in addition to the specific training that our security employees and contractors and other stakeholders undergo on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, discussed below.

Total number of participants in security training
Region Site/location Employees Private security contractors Public security/law enforcement personnel Other external stakeholders Percentage of security personnel trained
Africa Ahafo 592 68 26 0 100%
Akyem 312 132 45 0 100%
South America Yanacocha 8 388 0 0 100%
Suriname 21 178 23 3 100%
Total 933 766 94 3 100%
Note: In 2017, we extended training on the VPSHR and our Human Rights Standard to around 80 percent of junior staff at our Ahafo and Akyem operations in Ghana.

Security

We met our target for all operating, project, exploration and office sites to identify high and extreme threats and have action plans in place to reduce these threats to a tolerable level. We also met our target to complete risk assessments and externally review action plans at our sites in Ghana, Peru and Suriname.

We did not experience any significant security-related events at our operations. However, in line with our Code of Conduct, policies, standards and commitment to the VPs, we self-reported to the VPs an event at our Ahafo mine in Ghana involving the use of force. In April, an individual was arrested for suspected illegal small-scale mining activities on the mine’s property and was later remanded to the authorities for processing. When site security personnel reviewed previously recorded footage of the arrest from the video surveillance system, the footage revealed three members of the security team, including a Newmont security officer, and one Ghanaian army officer using excessive force against the individual. The event was reported immediately to senior management, and we consulted with the local traditional leader and requested a police investigation. Based on the investigation’s findings, actions were taken against each of the personnel – including suspending the Newmont staff member and reassigning the army officer – and we stepped up our training with both security staff and the wider site personnel population on acceptable behavior and protection of individual rights for all including those suspected of illegal activities. The findings were also discussed with local stakeholders.

Because security is one of the pillars of our artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) strategy, we engaged with internal and external stakeholders to develop clear and effective processes designed to minimize conflict between small-scale miners and Newmont personnel. Where we encounter illegal small-scale mining, we have put in place a security action plan that is human rights focused, compliant with the VPs and integrated into our broader security performance monitoring.