All mining operations have positive and negative social impacts. These can include local population changes, not least the influx of work-seekers from outside the community; changes to the local economy and livelihoods, health status and the pressures on local infrastructure and services; the quality and availability of natural resources; social nuisance factors such as dust and noise; and safety and security.
We seek to support strong communities that benefit from our activities today, while building a sustainable future for tomorrow. We fully share our communities’ aspirations to secure the greatest possible long-term value from our activities.
Our community strategy sets three broad aims:
This strategy is aligned to the Social Way – our governing framework for social performance – and applies across the whole lifecycle of our operations from exploration to closure, including the acquisition and sale of assets.
Under the Social Way, all our mining operations are required to develop a long-term Social Performance Strategy, supported by annual Social Management and Stakeholder Engagement Plans, a commitments register that tracks the fulfilment of commitments made, and a widely publicised and accessible complaints and grievance procedure.
The process follows Anglo American’s Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT), which profiles local communities and engages with them to assess their needs, identify impacts, and develop or update community investment activities.
Operations go through the SEAT process every three years.
During the development of a mine, or when planning significant changes to existing operations, we also undertake Environmental and Social Impact Assessments to identify our potential impacts within communities and to develop mitigation measures.
Effective grievance mechanisms for local stakeholders are a key requirement of the Social Way. They give local stakeholders a voice and enable our operations to identify new concerns. We have worked to improve our grievance mechanisms during 2016.
Grievance mechanisms need to align with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, including proactively informing local community stakeholders that the mechanisms exist, as well as providing an appeals process. Grievance systems are assessed through the annual Social Way assessments and are included within our Best Practice Principles process.
In Botswana, the External Complaints Procedure has been translated into Setswana and published in communities around Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines – all approved by the local communities and by the local government. At Jwaneng, comment boxes have been placed in villages local to the mine.
In Canada, a new grievance policy was agreed in late 2016 and published on the De Beers Canada website. The policy will be outlined at community meetings at Victor and Gahcho Kué mines, and community groups will be made aware that a formal mechanism for grievances is in place.
Out of our total social investment of nearly US$25 million in 2016 (2015: US$28.2 million), our main community development spend was on health initiatives through our mine hospitals and educational and training initiatives. These brought new skills and opportunities to individuals and their communities.
(For further socio-economic impacts of our partnerships see Economic impact on producer countries.)