Newmont’s unprecedented review is placed in the public domainApril 2009
A gold mining company has taken the unusual step of publishing an independent review of how it is managing relationships with communities near its sites.
US-based Newmont Mining Corporation released results of the 18-month global review last month, along with background documents collected as part of the exercise. It published the information on its website and issued the report to the Reuters news agency.
The review was commissioned in April 2007 after Newmont’s board of directors accepted a shareholder resolution calling for an independent study on the topic. The resolution was tabled by Christian Brothers Investment Services and ten other faith-based investors, after the company ran into trouble over a labour dispute in Peru and pollution charges in Indonesia.
The review was carried out by a panel of sustainability experts, including individuals critical of the company, which interviewed more than 350 people and carried out site visits .
It says there is plenty of scope for improvement on community relations, even though Newmont has ‘strong policies and standards’ in place. It urges a ‘more consistent’ approach to engagement with communities, and ‘better preparation’ to manage and resolve conflict.
Newmont has said it will implement ‘as many of the recommendations as possible’.
Tony Hodge, president of the International Council on Mining and Metals, said the move was unprecedented in the sector, ‘but my sense is that this kind of review is… going to become much more common’.
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