STRATEGIC FOCUS AREA
Creating direct economic opportunity can help build trust and acceptance of the mining industry and can lead to increased community collaboration and economic growth. While community demands and the complexity of social challenges faced may at times be felt more acutely at mining operations in emerging economies, where the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality are most visible, the concept of shared value is relevant across all of our operating jurisdictions.
Our social conduct is critical for us to maintain our social licence to operate.
Our most material social matters are:
- Employee health
- Employee safety
- Integrated talent management
- Community health
- Resilient, self-sustaining communities
- Integrated closure (see environmental performance)
- Artisanal and small-scale mining
All our operating mines are OHSAS 18001:2007 certified, with Geita, Iduapriem, Siguiri, Cerro Vanguardia, Sunrise Dam and Tropicana Mines already migrated to ISO 45001:2018, with the remaining operations to follow. The certification process has however been impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Social performance – summary
Our goal is to have workplaces that are free of injury and harm by 2030. AngloGold Ashanti has made significant strides in improving safety in recent years and our systematic and integrated safety strategy is embedded through our executive and senior operational leadership teams.
Notwithstanding this improvement, we deeply regret the loss of six colleagues during the past year. We extend our condolences to all affected by their passing. The deceased are Justice Cudjoe and Justice Obeng Sarkodie (Obuasi), and Xolani Ngqwemese, Mokhethe Johannes Radebe, Luca Maapea and Thabo Reuben Rakometsi (Mponeng).
We continue to consolidate progress made in recent years by reviewing the safety strategy. We have developed detailed action plans at a group level for the next three years, with the regional and operational leads adapting and incorporating the strategy into site improvement plans considering local circumstances and relevance. Specific emphasis has been on analysing the correlation between critical control failures in critical control monitoring and control failures that contributed to High Potential Incidents. Through this work we seek to establish a more holistic and proactive risk management approach to prevent high consequence incidents.
Employee and community health
The COVID-19 pandemic led to improved integration of health risk management across the company, beyond occupational health and into our over-arching business strategy.
The pandemic required significant focus and resources across AngloGold Ashanti as we worked to limit the spread of the virus and safely maintain operational continuity. Given the close association between employees and communities, the measures we took focused on both stakeholder groups. As at 19 March 2021, AngloGold Ashanti had conducted more than 50,800 COVID-19 tests of which 2,794 employees had tested positive. About 94.4% of the confirmed cases have fully recovered. Sadly, 13 of our employees succumbed to COVID-19-related illnesses.
We remained focused on reducing occupational illnesses and recorded a reduction of 47% year-on-year. When excluding the assets sold, there were no occupational illnesses recorded on our existing portfolio. We continue work to improve employee wellness, including fitness for work and general physical and mental well-being. See <SR> for further details.
Our most significant and successful community health initiative is our malaria control programme which is in place at all operating sites in our Africa region, and protects more than 1 million people.
Silicosis class action and the Tshiamiso Trust
In July 2019, a full bench of the Johannesburg High Court approved the settlement of the silicosis and TB class action suit in South Africa, providing a route to compensation for affected mineworkers and their families. The settlement was between the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group – representing African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater – and the settlement classes’ attorneys, Richard Spoor Inc, Abrahams Kiewitz Inc and the Legal Resources Centre.
The settlement agreement relating to the silicosis and TB class action became effective on 10 December 2019, following the legal processes that had to be in place for a trust to be established. The Tshiamiso Trust was subsequently registered on 7 February 2020. The trust has begun its work tracking class-action members, processing claims submitted, undertaking medical examinations and paying benefits to eligible claimants, in accordance with the terms of the historic silicosis and TB class action settlement agreement.
For more details and updated information on the trust’s work, see: www.tshiamisotrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/13-11-2020-Tshiamiso-Trust-Progress-report.pdf.
A detailed breakdown of statistics by operation is available in the ESG data tables (xls, 3.5mb)
Integrated talent management
Having productive employees with the necessary talents, skills, knowledge and experience enables AngloGold Ashanti to deliver on its strategy and create value. Managing our talent and ensuring a pipeline of appropriately skilled employees to sustain the business in the long term, is key. We achieve this through our talent management strategy, which is supported by learning and development initiatives. In 2020, $11m was invested in employee learning and skills development (2019: $12m) in total.
Diversity and inclusion is central to our human resources strategy, and to this end a Global Diversity and Inclusion Framework, approved by the board in 2019, is designed to foster the empowerment of all staff, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation, or disability. This framework is aligned with the principles of the ICMM and UNGC as well as AngloGold Ashanti’s human resource objectives. For more detail, see <SR>.
paid to employees
wages and benefits)
A detailed breakdown of statistics by operation is available in the ESG data tables (xls, 3.5mb)
Building resilient, self-sustaining communities
Communities are a material stakeholder in our business and creating and sharing value with them helps secure our social licence to operate. As a responsible mining company, we aim to ensure stakeholders see meaningful benefit from our operations. We do this through ongoing engagement that allows us to identify projects relevant to communities and support them so they can have measurable and sustainable impacts on the communities in which we operate. For more detail see <SR>.
Our community development initiatives are aimed at maximising the impact in the following areas:
- Infrastructure – includes water security, renewable energy initiatives, waste management and sanitation, roads, and health and education facilities
- Socio-economic development – includes a focus on food security and economic activities independent of mining
- Skills development – education and training initiatives aimed at increasing local talent pools as well as skills to reduce dependence on commercial mining, and artisanal and small-scale mining; a focus on youth and women development
- Community awareness initiatives – these have focused on campaigns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the environment and climate change, greening initiatives and climate adaptation. In Brazil and the DRC, we use mainly hydropower, and we are planning to use it in Colombia, once the projects start operating. In Australia, both Sunrise Dam and Tropicana use power generated by liquified natural gas (LNG)
Artisanal and small-scale mining
Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is the informal and sometimes illegal mining of either previously mined areas or in some cases sites belonging to AngloGold Ashanti. Many of those involved are subsistence miners, working in dangerous conditions to earn a living. Others are part of collectives, mining for larger operatives, with little consideration for safety or the environment.
We have long advocated for the formalisation of ASM, helping to educate and provide safer work environments and alternative avenues to secure a living.
At Siguiri in Guinea, where artisanal small-scale miners are active on our concession, we work with local and regional authorities, community leaders and other stakeholders to assist in mitigating or reducing this risk to communities and our operations. A memorandum of understanding was signed with the community and authorities in late 2019, which helped keep our active pits clear of illegal mining.
We have also initiated a multi-stakeholder ASM formalisation process, led by the Guinean government. In Tanzania, Ghana, Mali and Colombia, we are part of ongoing multi-stakeholder initiatives to advance co-existence and formalisation.
We will continue to co-operate with governments, communities, civil society, the private sector and international bodies, focusing on dialogue with all stakeholders, as we seek to build resilient self-sustaining host communities. For more information on this, see <SR>.
Australia is the only country in which we operate where Indigenous Peoples and their communities are adjacent to our sites. Over the past 30 years, we have developed a solid foundation for constructive community engagement and relationships, with good levels of co-operation with the traditional owners in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia have adopted a comprehensive community investment strategy that targets: education support; health and wellbeing; indigenous employment; and progressive contracting and procurement practices supporting the development of Aboriginal-owned businesses. See the case study on the partnership with Aboriginal contractor, Carey Mining Pty Ltd on the website.
As standard practice, we consult with Indigenous Peoples and their representatives on new exploration programmes or new mining projects. Heritage surveys, field inspections and monitoring of exploration activities are practical aspects of our heritage protection process. This process is designed to ensure full compliance with applicable federal and state legislation.
There are potential legislative changes regarding indigenous heritage laws in Australia, given the risks highlighted by the destruction of Juukan Gorge in Western Australia. The Indigenous Affairs Minister of Western Australia (WA), the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CMEWA) and its members, which include AngloGold Ashanti Australia, have been actively engaged in, and are supportive of, the reform process of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA), and will continue to support the ongoing, extensive consultation process. We believe that reforming the Act will deliver a modernised legislative framework, which will further empower traditional owners and local knowledge holders to make informed decisions about their own cultural heritage.
informed decisions about their own cultural heritage. In addition, AngloGold Ashanti Australia is working with the Minerals Council of Australia, as a member of the newly established Indigenous Partnerships Committee, to develop a collective industry response to rebuild trust and drive the next generation of partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander landowners and communities.