Barrick Gold Corporation continues to strengthen its reputation as a trusted partner in its host countries across the world and is actively working to build a more sustainable mining sector fit to attract the next generation of industry leaders, says President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow in the company’s 2019 Sustainability Report.
Bristow says Barrick’s commitment to social and economic development, health and safety, human rights and the environment is a key component of its business strategy.
“As a modern mining company, we recognize that we must be a trusted long-term partner for our stakeholders to be sustainable, and that we must be sustainable to be successful,” he says.
Safety is a top priority for Barrick as the company strives for a zero-harm workplace, as is environmental management.
In 2019, Barrick operated with zero fatalities and saw lost time injuries reduce in the Africa and Middle East region. However, despite these improvements the overall total reportable injury frequency rate1 for the group rose slightly, impacted in part by the newly combined assets in Nevada.
Identifying gaps and progressing continuous improvement on safety at all mines will be a key focus in 2020. The company also recorded zero major environmental incidents in 2019 and exceeded its water efficiency target of 70%.
It has put in place a long-term strategy to manage climate risk and protect biodiversity, and remains vigilant in the monitoring of tailings storage facilities.
Bristow says the most significant contribution a mining company can make to society is to create long-lasting economic opportunities and notes that in 2019 Barrick distributed more than $9.3 billion to host country governments, its workforce, suppliers, host communities and beyond.
It prioritizes local recruitment and last year directly employed more than 21,800 of its host country nationals (approximately 97% of employees) and spent more than $4.4 billion on goods and services from businesses in host countries.
“We are engaged in managing the impacts of the coronavirus epidemic on our people and our business. This includes the implementation of strict hygiene protocols at our mine gates and across our sites.
“We are also working closely with the clinics, hospital and medical professionals in our communities to ensure that they are properly resourced should an outbreak occur,” he says.
Also in the report, Barrick’s Sustainability Executive Grant Beringer says that a sound environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) strategy should be measurable.
“We believe in transparently measuring and reporting our performance and to show this we have developed a sustainability scorecard to rate our ESG performance over the past year.
The scorecard ranks against our peers, where applicable, and against our own internal metrics and rolls that performance to an aggregate score. We expect these indicators in the scorecard will evolve over time, but we believe this is an important first step for the company and the industry.
We believe our grade this year reflects the improvements in sustainability performance we have made across the group in 2019 and our progress against many of our key performance indicators.
It also acknowledges that there is still work to be done,” he says.
“We do not report data because it is popular, or because others do so. We track our sustainability performance because it helps us make better decisions, helps to de-risk projects, discover opportunities, and deliver real value for our business. Sustainable development is truly at the heart of our business and our sustainability vision is embedded in every aspect of what we do — we live it.”