Skip to main content
Home > Sustainability > Human Rights

HUMAN RIGHTS

Respect for human rights is a central part of our sustainability vision.

From the Dominican Republic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, we work across a diverse range of social, economic and political contexts, where we are part of the society’s fabric. We know that our activities, and those with whom we do business, can both promote and negatively impact human rights. We acknowledge our responsibility — and the opportunity – to contribute to realizing human rights for people around the world.

4,800
Almost 4,800 public and security personnel trained in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Industry leader
Rated as an Industry leader 2019 Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights Benchmark

41%
Workers with collective bargaining agreements

56.9
Score on the corporate human rights benchmark

Management Approach

We have zero tolerance for human rights violations wherever we operate. We avoid causing or contributing to human rights violations and to facilitate access to remedy. Our commitment to respect human rights is codified in our standalone Human Rights Policy and informed by the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs), and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Our Policy includes commitments to:

  • Provide training on our human rights expectations to all new employees and all relevant existing employees.
  • Conduct human rights due diligence for all new projects as well as significant modifications to existing operations where there is the potential for negative human rights impacts, and seek to employ reasonable measures to mitigate those impacts.
  • Comply, and demand that all suppliers and contractors comply with all national laws, the International Bill of Human Rights, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions.
  • Conduct periodic audits and reviews at different sites, of different operating units, and of different contractors, to give us confidence that we are meeting the letter and spirit of this Policy. We may conduct audits ourselves or use external third parties. Where appropriate, we will establish performance improvement action plans to respond to the findings of these audits and reviews.

Our policy is implemented on the ground via our Human Rights program. Following the merger with Randgold, we undertook an assessment of our human rights policy and program to confirm it remained appropriate for our expanded business. Following this review we published a revised human rights policy and in 2020 will be revising certain procedures. The fundamental principles of our human rights program include:

  • Monitoring and reporting: We monitor for potential human rights incidents and aim to transparently report all incidents. We publicize our human rights commitments to local communities and other stakeholders and consult with them about their expectations around human rights. In 2019, concerns related to human rights were raised through our whistleblowing hotline or grievance mechanisms and were investigated appropriately.
  • Due diligence: Our mines conduct human rights assessments on a two-year cycle. In the first year, every operational mine conducts a self-assessment to evaluate the actual, potential and perceived human rights risks and impacts of the operation. In the second year, an independent human rights assessment program is conducted at mines with medium and high exposure to human rights risks. Due to the review of our human rights policy and procedures in early 2019, we did not carry out any external or third party human rights assessments.
  • Suppliers: Human rights are an important part of the supplier onboarding process. All suppliers must commit to our Supplier Code of Ethics, which includes human rights provisions. We also conduct basic due diligence in a pre-qualification process, including for human rights issues, on all direct suppliers before contracting with them.
  • Training: Our employees are provided with training on our human rights expectations as part of their induction training. Additional and enhanced specialist human rights training is provided for employees at operations with higher human rights risks or in higher risk roles, including security personnel. During 2019 almost 4,800 public and security personnel were trained in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. All full time employees are required to take online annual refresher training in relation to our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics which includes a module on modern slavery and human rights. We have a global goal of over 90% completion. In 2019, the global average completion rate was 92%.
  • Disciplinary action and remedy: A violation of our human rights policy will lead to disciplinary action, including termination of employment or contracts depending on severity. If we discover any violation, we cooperate with the relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies in prosecution efforts. We may also assist victims in seeking redress directly against perpetrators using internationally recognized channels.

Responsibility for the oversight and implementation of our human rights compliance program sits with our Group Sustainability Executive, with support from our SVP Business Assurance and Risk, and our Human Resources Executive.

SECURITY

We follow the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) in our dealings with public and private security providers, local communities and potential victims of human rights violations. The VPs require us to embed human rights principles in contractual requirements with security providers. We require security personnel at our sites to undergo a pre-employment screening that includes a criminal background check. Contractor security personnel must also provide a proof of background check when assigned to the site.

Security personnel also receive specific training on human rights, the VPs and Barrick’s Use of Force Procedure, which is aligned with the United Nations Guidelines for the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Any private security personnel who carry firearms must be trained in and sign off on this procedure annually. Barrick employees do not carry firearms. Our mines in Zambia, Peru, DRC, Côte d’Ivoire and the Dominican Republic have memoranda of understandings in place with public security agencies, all of which reflect the terms of the VPs. The Porgera Joint Venture and the North Mara gold mine have a Memorandum of Understanding with local police forces in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania respectively, which also reflects the terms of the VPs.

In 2019 independent third-party consultant, Avanzar LLC, conducted a desktop assessment against VP requirements for our Veladero mine in Argentina. Our African mines will complete a self-assessment against the VPs in the first half of 2020 and our plan is to start to carry out independent third-party assessments of these sites against the VPs later in 2020.

The General Managers of each mine are responsible for ensuring that our security operating procedures are followed.

Performance

In 2019, we trained more than 3,600 private security personnel and 1,200 public security personnel on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

During 2019, all employees who completed the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics refresher training were also provided with updated training on human rights compliance as part of the course.
 

Resolving Legacy Human Rights Claims at North Mara

In early 2020 a group of seven human rights victims launched a legal claim against Barrick citing use of excessive force by local police hired by the former Acacia. We take these legacy claims seriously and are committed to resolving them in an open and transparent manner. As part of our commitment to the resolution and rebuilding community trust, we have chosen not to challenge the jurisdiction of the UK courts to hear these claims. This means they will be heard in the British court system rather than the Tanzanian courts.
 

Employees at North Mara, Tanzania, receive regular human rights training.

Employees at North Mara, Tanzania, receive regular human rights training.

Independent Third-Party Oversight at Porgera

Law and order problems have plagued the Porgera region of the Enga Province for several years. Land ownership can be contested, turn violent and there are many illegal miners in the area. Since the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) opened, there have been allegations of human rights violations, linked to local police forces or private security forces. This includes allegations of extreme sexual violence, use of excessive force and forced evictions. The allegations also claim the police are acting on behalf of or under instruction from PJV.

While we have a memorandum of understanding in place with national police, and provide support by way of training particularly on human rights issues, we only ask police to come to our site or engage with us on criminal matters. Since 2009, in partnership with the Papua New Guinea government we engaged former Chief Ombudsmen and former Commissioner of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, Mr Ila Geno, to serve as the Independent Monitor of Police Deployment in Porgera district and conduct cursory inquiries regarding allegations against Police and employees of the PJV. Mr Geno is well respected in the country and community. He is independent and is provided complete and unlimited access to mine records and information.
 

Barrick has partnered with the Papua New Guinea government to make it safer for the communities that live in
the Valley.

Barrick has partnered with the Papua New Guinea government to make it safer for the communities that live in the Valley.

Barrick and PJV take these allegations seriously, and are working hard to manage the issues properly. They help to facilitate training for local police and only call them to the mine to help with criminal matters. The training is good, but modifying entrenched behavior can take time and it also requires strong governance structures within the police forces.

 
— Ila Geno, Independent Observer

LABOR RELATIONS

At Barrick, we see the provision of fair wages, benefits and reasonable working hours not only as part of a commitment to human rights but critical to the creation of a motivated and dedicated workforce and we respect the right to unionize.

Management Approach

Transparent two-way communication is at the heart of our approach to labor relations. We have a range of communication channels for workers, unionized or not. These include public forums such as the CEO town hall meetings at each site, digital platforms such as the intranet or third-party platforms, such as our whistleblower hotline. At our mines in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC, we invite labor representatives and trade unions to attend the mine’s quarterly Board meetings and we consult with them on many key business decisions, including cost reviews.

We recognize and respect the right of our workers to join a union and to participate in collective bargaining without interference or fear of retaliation. Our Human Rights Policy commits us to upholding the ILO Core Conventions and we seek to engage with trade unions in an honest and constructive way. We also encourage our Senior Executives, including our Human Resource Executives, General Managers and our CEO to be involved in key industrial relations discussions.

 

FAIR WAGES

We take a country-based approach to salaries, compensation and benefits. We offer competitive and locally appropriate benefits that range from healthcare to interest free loans. Our workers make more than the national minimum wage in the countries or regions we operate.

We have collective bargaining/enterprise agreements (covering wages, benefits and other employment terms) with unions. Approximately 41 percent of our employees are union members or have collective bargaining agreements in place.
 

Mark Bristow addressing union members during a mass gathering at Kibali, DRC.

Mark Bristow addressing union members during a mass gathering at Kibali, DRC.

Training Our Talent

Our people are our most important asset. Their skills and hard work are the bedrock of our success.

Making sure our people have the right training is therefore critical to our on-going success. To do this we provide a wide range of development programs to build and maintain a high-performance organization with the right skills to deliver our business strategy. These include:

  • On-the-job development including skills shadowing and technical training for specific job functions. For example, our Compass program in North America provides job learning and mentoring where participants can observe how an expert in their field makes decisions, tackles challenges and capitalizes on opportunities. At our sites in Africa, we pair junior workers with experienced workers across mines to enable mentoring to take place.
  • Formal training and development programs such as our Management Development training at the University of Cape Town and our Finance for Non-Financial Managers training course. The latter is taught on site to members of junior management from Superintendent and upwards in Africa and teaches our people to not only think like miners but also with a business mindset.
  • Ongoing educational opportunities through apprenticeships, tuition assistance and scholarships to universities and technical schools. For example, our Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic partners with national education institute INFOTEP to provide technical and skills trainings as well as apprenticeships. Our apprenticeship training provides participants from local communities the artisan skills required to work in various occupations in our operations and outside our industry.
     

In the Dominican Republic, the Pueblo Viejo apprenticeship program, carried out every second year, recruits people
aged between 18 and 25 and certifies them in a technical discipline.

In the Dominican Republic, the Pueblo Viejo apprenticeship program, carried out every second year, recruits people aged between 18 and 25 and certifies them in a technical discipline.

Nevada Teams Up to Drive Jobs and Training

It is critical for our operational success and safety that we have skilled commercial drivers in the region. Commercial haulage is also a strong engine of jobs and growth in local economies. In Nevada we partnered with five industry partners, Great Basin College, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to launch the Commercial Driver License (CDL) program at Great Basin College, a local community college in Elko.

Together this consortium fund hands-on sixweek training courses that educate students to understand the laws and best practices of safe commercial driving required to qualify for a Class “A” Commercial Driver License (CDL) in Nevada. More specifically, funding covers the cost of the trainer, vehicle maintenance, insurance, fuel and a $300/week per student stipend. In 2019, a total of 24 students were trained, with 22 passing the course, 21 ultimately obtaining their CDL and 20 being hired into the workforce (11 of which were hired by consortium members).

Programs such as these are truly the lifeblood for the mining industry, producing professional drivers who possess the knowhow and expertise to safely drive large vehicles to bring supplies to our mines and transporting materials.
 

Barrick funds hands-on training for prospective drivers in Nevada ,USA, to obtain their Commercial Drivers License.

Barrick funds hands-on training for prospective drivers in Nevada, USA, to obtain their Commercial Driver License.

Automation for the People

In an increasingly competitive global economy - with rapid and far reaching changes in technology and trading patterns - we are working to equip our in-country workforces with the long-term skills to thrive in global mining.

Nowhere is this more evident than at Kibali in the DRC - the youngest mine in our stable. Although located in a remote corner of north eastern DRC, Kibali has become a global leader in automated underground mining.

Kibali’s system includes a fleet of Load Haul Dump vehicles which can be operated autonomously 750m below the surface. This has helped set record mining and shaft production levels at Kibali.

Fast track skills

Kibali’s system is run by highly-trained operators who manage all the operations from surface or remote sites. In line with our policy of prioritizing local employment and advancement, we are ensuring the specialized skills required for automated mining are transferred to our Congolese workforce. The use of automation also provides a quicker career path for smart, young incountry nationals - both men and women - who are able to learn the skills needed to manage automated machinery and advance much faster than in traditional mining. Skills development in the field of mining automation stands the wider DRC industry in good stead for the future.
 

Kibali, in the DRC, is one of the world’s leaders in automated underground mining. Mining automation is
paving the way for women and young people to excel in a mining career.

Kibali, in the DRC, is one of the world’s leaders in automated underground mining. Mining automation is paving the way for women and young people to excel in a mining career.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Indigenous people often have profound and cultural connections to their lands and waters. This can be tied to their physical, spiritual, cultural and economic well-being.

Considering the values, needs, and concerns of indigenous peoples in site activities is therefore fundamental to our partnership approach and the way we do business. Doing so can support the development of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with indigenous peoples that are affected by our activities. Partnerships with indigenous peoples can contribute to more sustainable land management, and a stable operating environment.

Management Approach

Our commitment to recognizing the unique rights and social, economic and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples and their distinct interests and concerns is set out in our Human Rights Policy, and is informed by the ICMM position statement to work to obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples.

We have sites near the traditional territories of Netmizaagamig Nishnaabeg, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, and the Metis Nation of Ontario (Hemlo); Alaska Native communities (Donlin); the Diaguita communities of the Huasco Alto (Pascua-Lama); and the Western Shoshone (Nevada Gold Mines). We have agreements in place with all these groups, except the Diaguita.

We require these sites to develop and implement an Indigenous Peoples Plan that outlines specific actions to engage, address impacts and provide opportunities for Indigenous Peoples. For example, our agreement with the Western Shoshone tribes in Nevada includes provision of scholarships and educational benefits, internships, employment opportunities and other social programs including an award-winning program to teach the Shoshone’s native language to the tribe’s youth.

There were no major incidents or violations of rights involving indigenous people at our sites in 2019. The creation of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture with Newmont increased both our operational footprint in Nevada and our exposure to indigenous peoples. As part of our integration work with the legacy Newmont sites, we undertook significant engagement to develop positive relationships with these communities.
 

The Ipili of Papua New Guinea are one of many distinct tribes living in the Porgera Valley.

The Ipili of Papua New Guinea are one of many distinct tribes living in the Porgera Valley.

Partnering With Western Shoshone to Improve Access to Education

Our operations in northern Nevada take place on or around the heritage lands of the indigenous people of the Western Shoshone. Our relationship with the Western Shoshone is very important and we focus on engagement, inclusion and collaboration to build and sustain the relationship.

When we asked what the communities’ needs and wants were, a top priority was educational opportunities for their children and employment. From this, in 2008 came the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation (WSSF). After 10 successful years and 1,539 higher education scholarships for Western Shoshone tribal members totaling $3.49 million; we agreed to a further 10-year extension of the WSSF.

Our commitment is to provide $1.3 million a year to the WSSF for 10 years. Scholarships are open to tribal members from the Duck Valley Western Shoshone Paiute Tribe; Duckwater Shoshone Tribe; Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone and its Elko, South Fork and Wells Bands; Ely Shoshone Tribe and Yomba Shoshone Tribe. The program now also includes an Alumni Association to close the circle and connect past students with future applicants, sharing experiences and assessing the impact of the program.

This program is a strategic long-term investment to help tribal members achieve their educational and professional goals.
 

Alice Tybo and Mark Bristow at a meeting for the
extension of the Western Shoshone scholarship Fund.

Alice Tybo and Mark Bristow at a meeting for the extension of the Western Shoshone Scholarship Fund.

The extension of funding for the WSSF is an example of a strategic long-term investment that has helped many tribal members achieve educational and professional growth and will continue to build capacity for our communities and for Barrick. and will continue to build capacity for our communities and for Barrick.

 
— Alice Tybo, Vice President of the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation Board

Rooms for Growth at Hemlo

Historically, procurement opportunities for the First Nations communities at our Hemlo mine had been limited between the communities and the mine. In 2019, following the negotiation of a new Social Economic Benefit Agreement (SEBA) which focused on the need to develop greater procurement opportunities for the communities, we entered into a three year lease agreement with GMS Camps and Catering Services LP for the use of one of their buildings as guest accommodation for the mine. GMS are a majority First Nation owned company and a collaboration between the Netmizaagamig Nishnaabeg and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, the two First Nations communities near Hemlo. The agreement included a $200,000 investment to upgrade facilities. This agreement provides us with quality accommodation for our guests near the mine at a steady cost basis, while providing GMS with a steady income and upgraded facilities.

Traditional dancers of the Ogiojibway First Nations Community in Canada at the annual Pic Mobert Pow-wow, a community event that takes place on the first weekend of August.
 

Traditional dancers of the Ogiojibway First Nations Community in Canada at the annual Pic Mobert Pow-wow,
a community event that takes place on the first weekend of August.

Traditional dancers of the Ogiojibway First Nations Community in Canada at the annual Pic Mobert Pow-wow, a community event that takes place on the first weekend of August.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

We believe a diverse work force is a better workforce. It provides the wide range of thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to run a global company, and a deeper talent pool to select from.

At Barrick, our approach to diversity is to foster a supportive working environment in which all individuals realize their maximum potential within the company. We don’t believe setting diversity targets is an effective way to deliver the skilled workforce we need to run a world-class mining company. Instead we commit to employing the best people to do the best job irrespective of gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religious belief or sexual orientation. This commitment is codified in our Diversity Policy.

A key focus of our diversity work goes to righting the gender imbalance in the mining industry. Mining is a historically male dominated industry, particularly in the emerging markets we work in. We seek to improve the gender balance at our mines in four ways:

  • First, we try to find ways to encourage and support women working on the mines. For example, at Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic the mine is working towards certification for gender equality, and we have started a gender ambassador program to promote gender issues and provide support and mentoring for women in the workforce.
  • Second, we work with governments to remove barriers to employment for women. In the DRC for example, we worked with the government to change regulations preventing women from operating heavy machinery, and during 2019 we engaged with the Ministry of Women to support their efforts against gender-based violence.
  • Third, we work to change cultural norms and raise awareness among local communities about the importance and value of employment and economic empowerment for local women. For example, the community teams at many of our African sites regularly engage with tribal chiefs and elders on issues related to women’s employment and empowerment.
  • Finally, we work to support alternative livelihood opportunities for women. Our mines in sub- Saharan Africa, for example, all have market gardens run by local women’s collectives, and in Mali we have supported training for local women’s groups in areas such as jam and soap making. These have subsequently transformed into thriving businesses providing significant income for the members.
     

Barrick believes that diversity helps build a stronger workforce and improves business performance.

Barrick believes that diversity helps build a stronger workforce and improves business performance.

At Barrick we believe in a work environment that is diverse and inclusive, regardless of gender, color or creed.

 
— Mark Bristow, President and CEO

Promoting Gender Equality and Women's Rights in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, gender-based violence is a serious problem. While violence and discrimination are strictly prohibited on site, national statistics indicate that one in five women in the Dominican Republic has been a victim of physical violence and one in ten has suffered sexual violence. As a responsible employer and corporate citizen in the Dominican Republic, we are committed to playing our part to support women in our workforce and local communities.

That is why we established a Gender Ambassadors program. The program utilizes 10 women from our workforce as Gender Ambassadors and advocates for women at the mine. They have been provided with training and take time to speak to the workforce about gender issues at the mine and the community, provide support to other women working at Pueblo Viejo, and raise concerns with management. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Empower, connect and offer mutual support to our female employees
  • Increase awareness of women’s rights
  • Promote a culture of respect
  • Reinforce our commitment to healthy, inclusive and equal work environments

Alongside the Gender Ambassadors program, in July 2019, we began the Nordom certification process for gender equality at Pueblo Viejo. Nordom 775 is the Dominican Republic’s standard for gender equality. It provides a framework for the implementation of a management system aimed at achieving gender equality in the workplace.
 

Yessica Feliz for Pueblo Viejo’s Gender Ambassador program in the Dominican Republic.

Yessica Feliz for Pueblo Viejo’s Gender Ambassador program in the Dominican Republic.

GENDER

Gender

  1. Ms Loreto Silva was appointed to the Board in August 2019 and we are well-advanced in our search for a second highly qualified female candidate.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

We have invested in and developed agribusiness initiatives at many of our mines. These initiatives help diversify local economies, build local capacity, and are an important part of our social closure planning.

Barrick is committed to being an equal opportunity employer. We seek to appoint the best person to the job irrespective of gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religious belief or sexual orientation. We aim for equal pay opportunities for both women and men in equal or similar roles that require similar levels of education and experience. Discrimination in any form is strictly prohibited by our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and our Human Rights Policy. We expect the same of our contractors too.