CSR ABROAD – Indigenous Peoples

Mining companies have developed CSR initiatives that take into account the specific rights of Indigenous peoples, and that attempt to engage Indigenous communities while maximizing the benefits that they can receive. Below are some examples of how Canadian mining and exploration companies ensure they engage with Indigenous peoples while upholding and respecting their rights:

Responses by Company

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

Respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights is ensured through agreements and cultural awareness training for our employees.

American Vanadium Corp.

Respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights is ensured through strong participation in project development from the local Native American community, as well as consultation both directly and through the EIS permitting process.

Angkor Gold Corp.

They are part of regular monthly meetings, ongoing discussions and projects implemented to meet their specific rights and needs.  Identifying specific 'spiritual or traditional' beliefs is part of the community engagement process.  We participate in activities to bless the wells, the land, and the air, but beyond that, we develop community councils with the Indigenous groups.  The councils meet with industry, NGOs, ourselves, and government regularly so all the stakeholders have input into exploration activities and potential development projects.

AuRico Gold Inc.

As stated elsewhere, each site has an established communications process with Indigenous peoples and continues to meet with these groups on a regular basis to ensure we gain a thorough understanding of any aspects that may be of concern to the parties.

Barrick Gold Corp.

Indigenous Peoples can have profound and special connections to, and identification with, the lands where Barrick operates, and these are often tied to their physical, spiritual, cultural and economic well-being. Barrick recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have individual and collective rights and interests and it is internationally recognized that their rights should be protected by governments and respected by companies.

Response continued

We respect the connection Indigenous Peoples have to their traditional lands and aim to mitigate or minimize any negative impacts our activities may have on Indigenous Peoples’ culture and cultural resources. Considering the values, needs and concerns of Indigenous Peoples in site activities, and engaging with Indigenous communities respectfully and transparently, can support the development of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous Peoples directly affected by our activities. Our Community Relations teams around the world engage and consult with Indigenous Peoples in a fair, timely and culturally appropriate manner throughout the mining cycle; from exploration, to construction and operations, and through closure.  Barrick’s Community Relations Management System (CRMS) requires all sites, where Indigenous Peoples have rights over or special connections to the land where mining related activities are located, to develop Indigenous Peoples Plans. These plans must, at a minimum, assess the impacts of Barrick’s presence on local Indigenous communities, include two-way dialogue and engagement, and address any impacts, risks, or obligations. Furthermore, all activities relating to Indigenous Peoples must be aligned to International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 7. Barrick endorses the ICMM Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining, which includes specific commitments and obligations related to Free Prior and Informed Consent. ILO's Convention 186 defines Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as “the right of communities to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development.” The principles of FPIC are evolving through international debate to help define and require appropriate consultation and consent. In 2013, the International Council of Mining & Metals (ICMM) updated their 2008 position statement on FPIC. The 2013 position statement articulates a progressive set of commitments related to Indigenous Peoples and FPIC that applies to all ICMM member companies. As a member company, Barrick participated in this process, along with other member companies and is in agreement with the position statement. 

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Cameco Corporation

Cameco has developed internal policies, as well as signed agreements with the Indigenous communities closest to our operations, to ensure that we understand and respect the rights of those peoples. We also have developed a myriad of engagement programs, and we also participate in others, with Indigenous peoples through which community members can bring up any issues related to rights. 

Candente Copper Corp.

A land access agreement was made after an 18 month communications campaign based around respect for free, prior and informed consent. The agreement for a 3-year land access agreement also set into design a committee of administration with 3 members of the community on the board, along with 2 members of the company, and one from a local university. These funds agreed upon are managed by the committee in favor of the development of sanitation, water security, and agriculture for the communities of Cañaris. Indigenous land title owners are also compensated for their lands, be it drill pads, or simple way of transit, through contracts with the association of land title owners.

Delta Gold Corp.

We express and demonstrate respect for First Nations peoples. We make it a priority to develop and maintain effective lines of communication early and frequently. We make a strong effort to learn about their culture and traditional land use, and to understand the potential impacts our activities may have on them. We seek to develop partnerships based on relationships instead of transactions.

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We acknowledge that anything we do must, in balance, be positive for them. We seek win-win situations, where our presence and activities provide meaningful benefits to their community, especially long term ones.

We seek whenever possible to preferentially train and employ Indigenous people, youth, and women.

Goldcorp Inc.

At Goldcorp, our policy is to seek and encourage partnerships with all local communities, and particularly with the Indigenous populations around our sites. We strive to make a positive impact in our local communities through economic contributions, community involvement and consultation, support for health and education initiatives, and sponsorship of special events. In particular, we strive to create employment and business opportunities for local Indigenous communities, with sensitivity and support for their social and cultural practices.

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We also seek opportunities for cultural training for our non-Indigenous employees and contractors to prepare them for working in the culturally diverse environment they may find on so many of our sites. We are also a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and as such we support and endeavour to implement the ICMM Position Statement on Mining and Indigenous Peoples, which was updated in 2013 and will come into effect in 2015. The Position Statement outlines the ICMM’s view of Free, Informed, Prior Consent (FPIC) and provides commitments that member companies make in order to put this into practice.

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Handa Copper Corp.

The company demonstrates respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights by acknowledging that each area is different, making no assumptions, and consulting widely with the Indigenous communities. Every effort is made to source labour and materials etc… from local communities, and they in turn ensure that rights and customs are observed.

HudBay Minerals Inc.

Our Human Rights Policy states our commitment to respecting Indigenous rights, and our stakeholder engagement standard that requires each location to identify groups with specific rights, such as indigenous rights.

Kinross Gold Corp.

Kinross is committed to working with the Indigenous peoples who live near our mines and projects. Our aim is to develop and operate projects in a manner that respects and strengthens their communities and brings positive long-term contributions to their quality of life. We believe that, when undertaken with appropriate safeguards and in consultation, mining is a strong source of positive benefits for our host communities.

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This commitment is articulated in our Ten Guiding Principles for Corporate Responsibility and, over the past three years, we have been examining ways to operationalize our approach. Meanwhile, in 2011, the global conversation evolved significantly in light of updates to the IFC’s Sustainability Framework, which became effective in January 2012, and the presentation and unanimous endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council, in June 2011, of John Ruggie’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These new perspectives confirm the need for a careful, diligent approach that takes into account the specific circumstances in each jurisdiction. Within that context, we recognize the unique considerations of Indigenous peoples, including:

  • The unique histories, languages, cultures, knowledge, traditions and values of Indigenous people and their contribution to the cultural and social diversity of the countries where we have a presence; 
  • The cultural importance of connections with the natural environment, including land, water, wildlife, and plants; and
  • The distinct nature and importance of Indigenous institutions in realizing the aspirations of indigenous peoples for their own development.

Consistent with the laws regarding the rights of Indigenous peoples in the countries where we operate, some of the practices that we undertake as appropriate to engage with Indigenous peoples include:

  • Conducting due diligence to identify areas where our activities may impact the lands, rights, or interests of Indigenous peoples;
  • Designing our projects to avoid any physical relocation of Indigenous peoples from their customary lands, and following international standards for relocation when it cannot be reasonably avoided;
  • Consultation to seek mutually acceptable solutions to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts prior to beginning any activities that would cause those impacts;
  • Ongoing engagement with Indigenous communities near our operations to understand the economic, social, and development aspirations of those communities and to endeavour to contribute to their self-sustainable capacity to attain those aspirations;
  • Encouraging opportunities for training and local business development that enhance Indigenous peoples’ participation in our activities as employees and suppliers; and
  • Providing training to employees and contractors interacting with Indigenous peoples to promote cross-cultural understanding and respect for traditional languages, customs, and practices.

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In Chile, the regional road department (VIALIDAD) authorized Maricunga to upgrade a 60-kilometre stretch of the public road that the mine uses to access the mine site; although not required by law to consult with the community, we approached the Rio Jorquera Colla Community (RJCC) in order to seek their input regarding the details of the project and its implementation. 

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In Russia, we signed an agreement with the Chukotka Regional Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, to help ensure that the benefits arising from our Kupol operation reached the region’s indigenous peoples. 

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In Nevada, USA, Kinross signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Western Shoshone Descendants of Big Smoky Valley resulting in the relocation of a proposed access road to accommodate Western Shoshone concerns. 

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Through consultation with the Shuar Federation we were able to design the Fruta del Norte operation in Ecuador in a way that does not affect the ancestral land rights of the Shuar Nation, or negatively impact sacred sites. This was later followed by the signing of a Co-operation Agreement which set guidelines for determining which Federation projects we would support. Kinross subsequently sold our interest in the operation in 2014.

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In Chile, Kinross Maricunga signed a Protocol Agreement with the Colla of Rio Jorquera which addressed employment and training, road maintenance, improvements in road safety, and environmental impacts near the road. 

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Nortec Minerals Corp.

Nortec prefers to partner with the local Indigenous people, and ensure them a fair and equitable share in the overall project.  The company also prefers to hire locals to manage any projects, rather than bring foreign employees that don't contribute any long term benefits to the region.   Nortec also attempts to have active community participation in any projects, with transparent negotiations and operations to ensure accountability. 

NOVAGOLD Resources Inc.

The company interacts with Indigenous groups through intensive community outreach and development programs which are intended to develop mutual respect and understanding of Indigenous cultures, customs, and beliefs. Because our projects are on and surround Indigenous land, we must be respectful of their rights and beliefs to ensure continued opportunities to develop and mine our project.

Sherritt International Corporation

We have an Indigenous relations policy in place that aligns with external standards and good practice. We have engaged third parties to assist with Indigenous outreach and provide training and counsel to employees who interact with Indigenous groups.