Newmont Mining Monday released the results of an independent, 18-month international review of the company's ability to management relationships with local communities.
While the study directors deemed Newmont's current standards and policies to be generally very good, the study also found it is apparent there are significant gaps between the language of Newmont's standards and practices at the mine sites.
Community relations cannot be an isolated function without the company, the study advised, adding Newmont employees, at all levels, must be held internally accountable for implementing the company's community relations goals.
Despite Newmont's many corporate policies that seek to ensure accountability the Study Directors found a consistent lack of accountability in the implementation of Newmont's community relations objectives, the study suggested. Additionally, Newmont must ensure that it has the personnel and resource capacity to implement its community relations goals.
The study was generated by a 2007 resolution approved by nearly 92% of Newmont's shareholders to initiate a review of the company's policies and practices related to community opposition to its operations. The shareholder resolution was filed by Christian Brothers Investment Services and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
The Community Relationships Review (CRR) included Minera Yanacocha in Peru, the Ahafo Mine in Ghana, the Martha Mine in New Zealand, the Batu Hijau Mine in Indonesia, and Carlin Operations in the United States. A limited review was also conducted at the Minahasa Raya Mine in Indonesia.
The CCR process involved interview with more than 250 local community members, non-governmental organizations and other external stakeholders in five countries, and interviews with more than 100 Newmont employees at mine site, regional and corporate levels.
In a statement, Richard O'Brien, Newmont President and CEO, said, While we have strong and responsible company policies in place, we clearly have work to do to ensure our implementation is reliable, consistent and accountable.
Successful execution of the CRR's lessons will help Newmont become an industry leader, while ensuring we continue to create sustainable value and opportunity for our shareholders, employees and host communities. I am personally committed to following through on the CRR so that we and all of our stakeholders benefit from its insight and recommendations.
Among the CRR's conclusions are:
1. Managing community relationships effectively is critical to Newmont's operations2. Newmont must reevaluate its approach to community relations and conflict.
When approaching the management of community relationships, Newmont cannot afford to view its operations in North America and Australia/New Zealand as ‘immune' from the types of community opposition seen in Peru and elsewhere. ...Especially at its Carlin operations, Newmont is vulnerable to a lack of systematization that has left it ill-prepared to deal with sudden changes in the tone of community/mine relations.
3. Assessing and building corporate capacity to manage community relationshipsThe Study Directors believe that Newmont's existing standards and policies are generally very good. - Responsible Stakeholder EngagementAll Newmont employees must treat stakeholders fairly, and in a manner guided by an established set of corporate values. These relationships must seek to establish trust; accordingly, Newmont must prioritize transparency and keep its commitments. - Strategic PlanningCommunity relations cannot be an isolated function. All employees must regard the implementation of the company's community relations priorities as an essential part of their jobs. ...Finally, there must be strategic planning at both the corporate and the mine-site levels.In building its capacity to be responsive to site-specific concerns, Newmont should prioritize the hiring of local nations for key management positions at the mine site and regional levels.