Supporting self-sustaining communities
Mining companies can play an influential role in the development of local communities and their supporting economies. We acknowledge the complexity and diversity of the cultural, economic, and social landscapes in which we operate and work to strike a balance between our moral and legal obligations, and commercial goals. Our host and local communities are faced with intricate socio-economic challenges – especially persistent poverty, high unemployment rates, low economic growth, inflationary pressures, inadequate infrastructure, and poor access to basic services.
Understanding that each of our operations exists within this broader social context, AngloGold Ashanti participates in the growth and development of communities where we operate, and strives to leave a legacy of enduring value for these communities. We are also aware that our ability to operate is premised on the relationship we have with our communities and we work to maintain lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with our host and local communities. Our social management approach and activities, inspired by the Group’s Sustainability Policy and guided by our Social Performance Management Framework, are based on inclusive stakeholder engagement and participation, proactive and prompt risk and impact management processes, and mutual value creation programmes.
Our approach to stakeholder management
Our approach to building mutually beneficial community relations is based on constructive, collaborative and respectful stakeholder relationships that build trust.
Meaningful engagement with our stakeholders enhances our understanding of our operating environment and facilitates informed decision-making, allowing us to contribute to sustainable development where we operate. This translates to AngloGold Ashanti being able to acquire and maintain its SLO; that is, stakeholders’ willingness to accept the continuous operation of our mines.
All sites collaborate closely with local communities and their leadership on a range of matters. Operations have Stakeholder Engagement Plans that are based on thorough stakeholder analysis processes. These plans are guided by our Stakeholder Engagement Management Standard.
Progress in 2022
In accordance with community functional areas, and in line with our Group Security Risk Management Standard, we started a process to analyse and update our social risks across the Group. This assessment has given us a better understanding of social risks and will enhance our risk monitoring processes, thereby contributing towards the upliftment of communities surrounding our operations.
We continued to monitor the SLOs of our sites by tracking the level of acceptability, legitimacy and trust between the Group and our local communities and by applying the SLO assessment matrix that was introduced in 2021. We also rely on perception surveys to collect the opinions of local community members. These enable us to better understand how they perceive our operations while also validating the impacts of our stakeholder engagement and community development programmes. Our perception survey programme was expanded to include one additional site in 2022, with Iduapriem mine conducting surveys towards the end of the year.
Mitigating current and legacy impacts
Mining can negatively influence communities by affecting their livelihoods, access to natural resources and impacting their health. AngloGold Ashanti understands that these impacts, when reported or identified by our mines, must be timeously addressed in a fair and transparent manner. Through our social impact management approach, we identify and mitigate past, current and future impacts on our communities.
The implementation of our grievance mechanisms is guided by our Management Standards on Community Complaints and Grievances and Community Incident Management. These are aligned with the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards and the UNGPs on Business and Human Rights.
It is through these mechanisms that grievances are received, addressed and resolved by the Company. A total of 146 (2021:447) complaints were received in 2022, majority of which related to mining impacts on communities, and included structural impacts from mine blasting activities and dust generated from our operations. These impacts are being reduced, alleviated, and prevented. All complaints are addressed with the involvement of local authorities, community leadership and the aggrieved parties.
Complaints and grievances are managed on iSIMS, which provides transparency when recording, investigating and mitigating impacts, as well as when reporting and resolving complaints. We aim to resolve all complaints and grievances within 30 days.
Complaints and grievances in 2022
|Operation||Number of complaints and grievances received||Number of unresolved complaints and grievances as at 31 December|
|AGA Mineração (Brazil)||57||3|
|Serra Grande (Brazil)||19||0|
We track and monitor community incidents that have a direct impact on our SLO and require careful management and timely closure as part of our social impact management approach. These are typically events or actions related to AngloGold Ashanti activities that have a negative social impact and result in the community or other key stakeholders withdrawing or failing to provide the support we require to continue with our operations.
These incidents can be self-reported by the operations through iSIMS or reported by third parties through each site’s complaints and grievance mechanisms. All community incidents are managed in line with AngloGold Ashanti’s Community Incident Management Standard, which classifies incidents according to severity. The management of incidents remains a collaborative effort with other relevant disciplines, local authorities and the affected community members.
In 2022, 48 community incidents were reported (2021:12), with most of these taking place at the Siguiri and Obuasi mines. The majority of these incidents were related to illegal miners trespassing on operational sites. All incidents were managed with our key stakeholders, including local authorities, community leaders and representatives. We continue to engage our stakeholders in the development and implementation of socioeconomic development programmes and localisation initiatives aimed at improving the livelihoods of local communities.
South African legacy projects
The 2021/2022 period saw a consolidation and review of project scope in line with the new Operating Model. In the current year, work was undertaken to identify potential partnerships. AngloGold Ashanti remains committed to ensuring that its legacy as one of South Africa’s largest gold producers endures for decades to come. These efforts will continue in 2023 as defined areas of focus are agreed and the best implementation pathways realised.
Responsible land access and resettlement
Land is a vital resource for our communities, who have cultural ties to it and rely on it for their livelihoods. Our mining activities occur where ore bodies are located, and in some cases, land acquisition for these activities may be required throughout the life of our mines. We remain committed to undertaking resettlement as a last resort. We ensure all land acquisition processes comply with applicable laws, regulations and conform to international standard practices, including the IFC Performance Standard #5.
Our Land Access and Resettlement Standard provides the basis for our approach. Where resettlement is unavoidable, we seek to ensure that project-affected people and communities are able to make informed decisions, adverse impacts are minimised and mitigated, and livelihoods are restored or improved. Our management standard requires the development of Resettlement Action Plans (RAPs) and Livelihood Restoration Plans (LRPs) with the involvement of the affected community and relevant stakeholders. Before resettlement can take place, RAPs and LRPs must identify and mitigate potential physical displacement and economic impacts.
Land-related actions and developments in 2022 included:
|Brazil: Serra Grande||The Brazil Santos Reis voluntary resettlement project was 98% complete by the end of 2022 with 50 of out of 51 families taking occupation of their new homes. The home of the remaining project affected persons (PAP) is being renovated and will be handed over in the new year. Livelihood restoration programmes will continue as per the commitments made to the PAPs.|
|Ghana: Iduapriem||The Beposo Tailings Storage Facility (BTSF) Resettlement Project at Iduapriem was advanced. By 31 December 2022, all the project’s affected people who opted for relocation had moved into their new homes. The relocation process ran concurrently with issuing resettlement support packages, and the implementation of resettlement agreements such as the Social Management Plan. The implementation of the Livelihood Restoration Plan is ongoing.|
|Guinea: Siguiri||As part of IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman conciliation process for Area 1 resettlement, the recommendations from the independent resettlement specialist study with regards to additional compensation for rental allowances were implemented. The site is on track to complete the implementation of other agreements emanating from the conciliation process.|
Culture heritage and sacred sites protection and preservation
Our Cultural Heritage and Sacred Sites Standard, Indigenous People Standard, and Human Rights Standard guide us in identifying, respecting, protecting, and avoiding unwanted disruption of cultural heritage assets as a result of our business activities. The regulatory frameworks and laws in countries where we operate further govern our actions and responsibilities.
Culture and heritage actions during 2022 included:
|Australia||The Heritage Protection Agreement (HPA) negotiations continued via the Cape York Land Council (CYLC) and an updated draft version of the HPA has been developed and awaits finalisation.|
|Brazil||We signed commitment terms with the State Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage to preserve material and immaterial goods and mitigate any adverse impacts caused by operational activities.|
|Colombia – Quebradona||The Preventive Archeological Plan has been implemented in accordance with the requirements set by the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH). Petroglyph finds are part of a management plan that was submitted to the ICANH with a conservation measure to keep the rock in its same natural condition.|
|Guinea||The mine is finalising and implementing management plans for two sacred sites in Block 2 of the Siguiri concession. The sacred sites of Allah Kolon nin da in Foulata and Sayin Lake in Saraya were designated as very significant heritage and required protection from the Block 2 mine expansion project.|
We seek to enhance the impact of our benefit-sharing programmes, recognising that the value of mining can benefit our communities through employment and business opportunities. Investments are focused on infrastructure and community development, and support for community health and economical resilience. This corresponds to our objective of leaving communities better off by improving the livelihoods and living conditions of our host communities.
We aim to positively contribute towards the socio-economic development of host communities, and are committed to continually engaging and partnering with stakeholders on the development and implementation of our socio-economic development plans. All sites have socio-economic development plans in place, as required by the Socio-Economic Contribution Standard, and these are aligned with the respective host countries’ national development priorities. In 2022 we invested $18m in community projects relating to areas of education, social infrastructure, income generation initiatives and health. See our community investment spend focus areas alongside.
Some highlights and impacts of our contributions included:
Argentina: The support for the refurbishment of the local airport in Puerto San Julián airport has resulted in two weekly flights connecting to the two nearest airports. These provide access to the rest of the country and have improved trade flow between cities.
Australia: We partnered with the Stephen Michael Foundation, based in Laverton, to facilitate the Rising Leaders programme. This programme provides 50 indigenous youth with psycho-social support, leadership, personal and career development, and sports programmes. We also supported new and ongoing youth/education programmes and STEM initiatives aimed at encouraging indigenous youth to excel and participate in primary and secondary school programmes.
Brazil: A sustainable partnerships programme, aimed at providing funding to small and medium-sized social enterprises, continues to yield positive results. To date, the programme has benefited approximately 40,000 people with 75% of the 272 beneficiary enterprises still operational and others providing services to the Company.
Colombia: The Projericó Foundation continued to support a government-led Youth Employment Programme, which allows for private companies to make a financial contribution towards the remuneration of young people employed at various companies. To date, the Foundation has supported 308 young people employed at 50 different companies based in Jericó and Fredonia.
Ghana: A 10-year socio-economic development plan was launched at Obuasi and is currently being rolled out. The plan was developed in consultation with local government, traditional authorities and communities. Iduapriem mine implemented a host of income-generating projects, including aqua culture, rice farming, piggery projects, and vegetable and soap production for 83 direct beneficiaries.
Guinea: The implementation of the market garden project progressed well. This initiative aids farmers from local villages with the skills and tools needed to grow vegetables. In 2022, the project provided technical training to 32 beneficiary groups, consisting of 706 women, and purchased farming equipment necessary to enhance production, which resulted in the sale of 32,600kg of crops.
South Africa: We partnered with various non-profit organisations to implement skills development and education programmes, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes, for 662 beneficiaries. Two of the youth skills development programmes, implemented by the Coalition for Anglican Children’s Home and Afrika Tikkun, have involved youth training in various vocational fields and placed them in permanent roles thereafter.
Tanzania: Implementation of the Corporate Social Responsibility Plan MOU 2021/22, signed by our Geita operation, the Geita Town Council and the Geita District Council, progressed with the improvement of education and health infrastructure in the Geita district. Local employment efforts were strengthened through the temporary employment of 800 locals during the construction of various facilities over the course of the year. The strengthening of existing income generating projects to encourage alternative industries and support sustainable communities, will be a key focus in 2023.
Inclusive employment and procurement
In most cases, our sites offer some of the best available employment and procurement opportunities to our host communities. We support inclusive procurement practices, collaborate with local businesses and communities and prioritise hiring people from the communities surrounding our operations. AngloGold Ashanti’s efforts to procure goods and services locally resulted in a total expenditure of ~$4bn (including operational and capital expenditure) on local procurement, accounting for 96% of the total procurement spend for 2022. Historically, we calculated spend using a commitment-based approach. This has now evolved to a payment-based approach. Supplier days at various locations has continued to produce positive results, as current and potential suppliers are trained on the requirements necessary to participate in opportunities offered by the Company.
We follow local employment procedures and programmes and seek to ensure we meet the regulatory requirements in our employment practices across the Group. At Iduapriem mine in Ghana, a multi-stakeholder engagement forum was held to socialise the mine’s updated Community Employment Procedure, which was later approved for implementation by various stakeholders. Our Brazil operations launched a professional qualification programme aimed specifically at women, with the goal of providing them with accredited technical training that will increase their chances of employment both within and outside the Company. In South Africa, we engaged an independent company to assist with supplier development programmes, empowered job creation and 26 learnership appointments with the same entity.
As we continue to strengthen our community relations practices to minimise our negative mining impacts, better understand our communities and their needs and share the value of gold in a meaningful and impactful way, we will focus, in 2023 and beyond, on:
- Updating our community management standards to further enhance our community relations processes
- Strengthening existing socio-economic development programmes to boost resilience in our communities
- Improving the management and timeous resolution of reported complaints and grievances
- Improving our collaborative and partnership efforts, managing our social impacts, and leveraging opportunities from our operations
the upliftment of communities where we operate, as they navigate difficult socio-economic challenges, remains
a key focus.