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Anglo American makes move on local dialogue

June 2003

Nine out of ten sites run by Anglo American are expected to have community engagement plans in place by the end of 2003.

The world’s second-largest mining group says the plans, which will outline how each site can become more closely involved with the local community, are to be based on ‘open dialogue’ with stakeholders.

The group is encouraging each site to develop ‘rigorous and culturally appropriate’ plans tailored to local conditions. They will typically involve the creation of ‘consultation forums’ for company employees and local people to meet as frequently as every month.

Anglo American has been criticized in the past for not doing enough to ameliorate the effect on local communities of closing long-standing operations, particularly in southern Africa, or to minimize the environmental impact of new sites.

At a minimum, the group says the plans must consider how sites can contribute to sustainable local development, ensure communities are kept informed about changes to an operation, and cover ‘significant future events’ such as closure.

The community engagement plans are already well advanced in one part of the group – Anglo Industrial Minerals – where 88 of the 138 ‘significant operations’ now have consultative forums.

Last year, Anglo American distributed community engagement guidelines to managers on the ground and this year is developing a ‘rapid socio-economic assessment methodology’ to identify the main issues at sites. It says community engagement must begin at the exploration and feasibility stages of projects ‘and must continue throughout the life of our operations’.

Anglo, which had a turnover of $20.5billion (£12.6bn) last year, expanded its social and environmental reporting last month with the publication of a Report to society verified by KPMG. This sets a number of new targets, including to develop a reporting framework that tracks the impact of HIV/Aids on its operations, and to meet the South African government’s ‘employment equity target’ before 2008 by having ‘historically disadvantaged South Africans’ in four out of ten management posts. The current figure at Anglo American is 22 per cent.

The report also says the group will extend staff volunteering, policies on security and human rights, and on resettlement rights.

It shows the group gave 0.9 per cent of its pre-tax profit to community investment projects and charitable causes in 2002.

 




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