We recognise that a successful mining company is one which is profitable while still meeting its social responsibilities in the countries and communities in which it operates. Indeed, profitability is a precondition for meaningful social responsibility investment. In addition to activities such as building schools and clinics in our surrounding communities, we make a very substantial contribution to the economies of the countries in which we operate through royalty payments and taxes. A strong partnership with governments of these countries is essential to ensure the reinvestment of state revenues in the areas surrounding our mines.
For each new development a process of assessment and engagement is undertaken to ensure that the positive effects of an operation are maximised and the negative impacts minimised. Strong local relationships are one of the foundation stones on which the company has been built. Our approach is guided by the IFC Guidelines on Environmental, Mining and Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability. OHSAS 18001, the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Services, occupational health and safety management standards, guide health and safety practices on our operations. All social and environmental assessments are reviewed by independent parties to ensure compliance to these codes.
Full environmental and social impact assessments are generated including public participation programmes with the local communities where the impacts, both negative and positive, are clearly communicated.
During the early exploration stage our aim is to make as small a social impact as possible. Once a target progresses to feasibility, full social, medical and environmental baseline studies are conducted, which define the pre-mining conditions and are used as benchmarks while the project develops and when it moves into production.
During this year public participation processes (PPP) and environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) were undertaken at our Gounkoto and Kibali projects. The Gounkoto ESIA was approved by the relevant Malian authorities. The Environmental Management Programme was submitted and approved for Kibali by the relevant Congolese authorities in 2010. However, to meet our own rigorous requirements, we commissioned independent consultants to undertake an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the Kibali project, which included assessments of the new roads we have built to Aru and the Nzoro hydro- electric facility. This ESIA is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011.
Medical baseline studies were completed during this year at Kibali and Gounkoto and reports have been submitted to the relevant authorities.
Prior to the start of construction on each project a community liaison committee, consisting of traditional, religious and elected representatives, is set up to provide a forum for regular, open dialogue where problems can be tabled and mutually acceptable solutions found. Where a Relocation Action Programme (RAP) is required representatives from the affected communities are elected to represent their communities on a Resettlement Working Group (RWG). These RWGs, with representation from religious leaders and local government, complement the PPP process in discussing and explaining all aspects of the proposed RAP.
Randgold is now involved with its sixth such process at Massawa, where our exploration team has assisted the surrounding villages with potable water provision by installing and repairing pumps, effecting road repairs in the rainy season and helping the gold washer village of Tenkoto to recover from a fire that destroyed a large proportion of its houses. Our exploration team is our first interface with the community and it is paramount that this is conducted in line with our community development strategy, which the exploration department has helped produce and is fully conversant with. We see this early contact as instrumental in allaying suspicions and conflicts, while building relationships based on trust between future mines and the community.
In an effort to bring environmental and social issues to the forefront of our business, an executive committee, chaired by the CEO, meets quarterly to review all environmental and social incidents. Progress reports regarding action plans from each project/mine are presented and reviewed each quarter. A summary of this review is presented at each group board meeting on a quarterly basis.
Our integrated social and environmental management process identifies potentially significant negative and positive impacts. The implementation of sustainable environmental and social responsibility strategies aims to minimise negative impacts and maximise the positive impacts of our activities, commensurate with our business strategy and with national and World Bank standards. The implementation and effectiveness of these strategies is audited by independent external consultants and monitored internally on a quarterly basis by the group's environmental and social oversight committee.
To achieve the aims of our policy, we:
- Encourage and reward the use of integrated environmental management to ensure that management decision making processes include a sensitive and holistic consideration of environmental issues. To facilitate this, all projects must include a comprehensive ESIA. Where appropriate, specialist consultants are employed.
- Maintain positive relationships with neighbouring communities, local and national government authorities, NGOs and aid agencies, and the public.
- Respect and consult with the communities in the areas affected by our operations so that these communities receive fair treatment and where possible benefit from our activities.
- Allocate an annual budget amount for sustainable community development projects. The projects are selected and prioritised in consultation with communities through liaison and development committees and carried out in cooperation with community members.
- Aim to forge a pact with our employees by having respect for fundamental human rights, including workplace rights, employee development and the need for a healthy and safe workplace.
- Strive for the highest quality of rehabilitation, waste management and environmental protection in the most cost effective manner.
- Strive to optimise the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources.
- Through the introduction of new alternative, environmentally friendly products and processes, as they become available, avoid the use or release of substances which, by themselves or through their manufacturing process, may damage the environment.
- Practice responsible environmental stewardship to meet the demands of local communities, host country government requirements and international standards, and strive for continuous improvement of environmental performance.
GROUP ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
As highlighted above, the group environmental and social oversight committee oversees and drives the company's environmental and social policies, in recognition of the strategic importance of these areas to our values and business success. The members of the committee are: the CEO, the general managers: evaluation and environment, human capital and social responsibility; Tongon; Loulo; West African Operations and the group manager metallurgical processing. The committee met four times in 2010 and will meet quarterly or more often as required in 2011.