Newmont’s Board of Directors oversees the Company’s business affairs to ensure long-term financial strength and creation of enduring shareholder value. The Safety and Sustainability Committee, which I am honored to chair, supports the Board’s responsibility to shareholders, employees, communities and other stakeholders and its commitment to a healthy and safe workplace and environmentally sound and socially responsible mining and resource development.
Although numerous accomplishments have been achieved through the hard work and talent of many individuals and teams across Newmont, the shifting social and political challenges facing the Company and the broader industry require a deep understanding of sustainability risks and robust strategies and plans to be in place. On behalf of the Committee, I am pleased to provide an update on the Company’s continued improvement and forward progress in meeting these challenges.
In 2017, the Committee’s quarterly meetings followed a full agenda that covered standing items, such as health and safety performance and regional updates, as well as in-depth examinations of key programs, strategies and challenges including:
- Safety – While the Committee commends Newmont on working without fatalities in 2017, and was encouraged to see the Company’s progress in implementing its Fatality Risk Management system, we are grieving the deaths of six construction contractors who were working on the Ahafo Mill Expansion project in Ghana in April 2018. We want to see the Company accelerate work in this area and further define and test the effectiveness of the critical controls necessary to prevent serious injuries.
- Social acceptance – Protests led by local youth from the community near Newmont’s Ahafo mine in Ghana and land disputes with the Chaupe and Pajares families near the Yanacocha operation in Peru demonstrate the need for Newmont to continue its proactive approach to engagement, communication, security and protecting the rule of law. The Committee believes Newmont’s formal dialogue program with Native American tribes in Nevada is an example of learning from the past to create a structured, collaborative engagement approach.
- Human rights – At Newmont’s 2017 annual meeting of stockholders, a shareholder proposal asked the Company to conduct human rights risk assessments of its operations and global supply chain. The proposal did not pass, but it did receive a notable level of support. Newmont has made significant progress over the past few years in integrating human rights considerations into the business, and the Committee is pleased with the development of the Supplier Risk Management (SRM) program, which will strengthen how human rights and other key risks are managed within the Company’s global supplier network and communicated to shareholders and other key stakeholders.
- Sustainable development – The Committee reviewed progress in integrating the priority UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into key areas of the business and how the development of concise, data-driven economic impact reports serve as a valuable tool for engaging communities, governments and other stakeholders on the Company’s economic contributions. We commend Newmont for allowing external experts to study the Company’s approach to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples at its Merian mine in Suriname, and sharing those findings to help build knowledge and understanding of operationalizing FPIC within a human rights framework across the extractive industry.
- Environment – During the year, the Committee received updates on a number of the Company’s environmental programs including its energy and climate change strategy; a strengthened approach to responsible tailings and heap leach management; improvements to integrate business and closure planning; and new partnerships to support the Company’s water stewardship and biodiversity goals. Each meeting also discussed progress against public targets to reduce fresh water use and greenhouse gas emissions intensity and to conduct concurrent reclamation.
The Committee looks forward to continuing its ongoing conversation with management on strategies to manage sustainability risks and contribute to local, national and international agendas such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs.
Key discussions in 2018 will include updates on promoting human rights across Newmont’s value chain through the SRM program and the development of a Responsible Sourcing strategy that addresses downstream users’ expectations for responsibly sourced gold and copper. We will address findings from the review of the Company’s occupational health programs and evaluate progress toward reversing the trend in hand injuries and rising injury rates. Finally, the Committee expects the work being done to better communicate the tangible value created and/or preserved through its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments and performance will further enhance Newmont’s value proposition.
These efforts and more will position Newmont well for achieving its purpose to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining.
Joseph A. Carrabba
Chair, Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors