Mining is generally not associated with social development and poverty eradication, but mining is essential for reducing poverty and achieving many of the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This role becomes increasingly important as the world strives to reduce some of the worst impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which in less than two years has reversed decades of progress in the fight against poverty and threatens to grow up to 173 million more. people fall below the poverty line.
Each year, the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty raises awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and deprivation in all countries, which also aligns with the sustainable development goals of many mining companies. At Barrick, we firmly believe that the mining industry has a crucial role to play in eradicating poverty, but how is mining contributing to it?
Mines and money
Mining has been the main driver of economic development around the world. Its products are anchored in the life of every person, every day and in many ways; our way of life is based on the resources extracted from mining. The ability of the mining industry to make a significant immediate and long-term contribution to socio-economic growth is a function of vital importance in emerging countries and rural economies. Because of its scale, mining requires the development of significant infrastructure and creates thousands of direct jobs and provides more indirect opportunities, often in the least developed corners of developing countries. For example in 2020 Barrick:
- Provided direct employment to 20,000 people in 13 countries. 97% of all employees and 80% of senior managers are nationals of the host country.
- In addition, Barrick has more than 23,000 contractors who provide services across the group.
- Paid $ 1.8 billion in taxes and royalties to host governments and $ 1.9 billion to employees.
- Spend $ 4.5 billion to purchase goods and services from local suppliers and the host country.
- Investing $ 27 million in community development programs designed to improve access to water, education, health care, food security and economic opportunities for local communities.
- Provided an additional $ 30 million in Covid-19 support to local and host governments to support response efforts.
- Taxes eventually paid in the Dominican Republic to accelerate the restart of local economic engines.
The cumulative impact is even greater, in Mali our operations have contributed $ 7.9 billion to the economy over the past 24 years and in the Dominican Republic we account for approximately 5% of annual tax revenue. In Papua New Guinea, we have paid over $ 1.7 billion in tax and excise revenue since 1990.
Break the cycle
We believe that the ability to create jobs, thrive economies and contribute to alternative livelihoods that could benefit many of those left behind by society is at the heart and a fundamental responsibility of any modern mining enterprise. . It is also not new to Barrick and it is one of the main ways of measuring our success as a company. We actively work to support local entrepreneurship in the communities in which we operate, and we work to monitor the impacts of the investments we make in our host communities, for example:
- In Tanzania: In our North Mara mine, we helped Kemanyanki, a collective of young people, start a poultry business. They now sell hundreds of eggs every day to mine processors and the local community. This provided essential additional income, jobs and contributed to the food security of the local community. The collective is now seeking to capitalize on its success and launch its own microfinance fund to empower other local entrepreneurs.
- In Argentina: We take advantage of the fertile valleys near our Veladero mine and have worked with local catering company ARAMARK to promote and increase local agricultural production, once again improving food security and providing additional income to local farmers.
- In Nevada, United States: In 2020, we launched the I-80 Fund which provides low-interest loans to small businesses so they can keep their businesses afloat after Covid-19. All monies reimbursed are reinvested in local community investment programs promoting community benefits.
Support education and gender initiatives
We know that education is one of the best routes out of poverty, which is why investing in education is one of our community development filters. Our investment in education begins, but certainly does not end with building schools and classrooms. We are taking it to the next level and working in partnership with education NGOs, such as World Education, to provide teacher training and support. These efforts have raised the success rates in local schools to 91%, compared to 64% for the region as a whole.
Most notable is the support we give to women, which we believe is the cornerstone of poverty reduction. The World Gold Council, through the Principles of Responsible Gold Mining (RGMP), identifies the need for increased support for women in mining and those living in host communities surrounding mines . Ending poverty also requires actors to recognize the gender-based discrimination and violence that has led to an increase in the feminization of poverty in developed and developing countries.
We are specifically providing an upliftment to women through initiatives such as women’s skills development and on-the-job training in Nevada, soap and jam making in Mali, and market gardens all over the world. AME sites.
Building climate resilience
Modern economic development cannot proceed without taking into account climate change, likewise, the transition to greener technologies cannot progress without taking into account the vast majority of humanity in the developing world. As we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic, no country or community is immune from the threat of climate change and as we experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequences will most certainly be felt unevenly, with the poorest and most vulnerable countries. peoples again bearing the heaviest burden for a problem that was not their fault.
So the climate debate is about more than setting goals without achievable roadmaps and making promises just to achieve compliance. That’s why, at Barrick, we not only strive to develop strong emissions reduction targets for our operations that are grounded in the realities of climate science to address the root causes of climate change, but also to ensure that we create a sustainable business that continues to uplift our communities and host countries. By sharing the benefits of our activity with our partners and local stakeholders, we play a key role in strengthening their resilience in the face of a changing world.
We are also looking and working beyond our mine doors to identify integration opportunities and the capacity needed to weather the storm. We have sought to scale up our current development projects that aim to build capacity in developing communities that may be affected by the transition to a low carbon world so that they are not left behind.
For example, for nearly a decade in our Kibali mine, we have worked to give a remote part of the DRC a head start on green energy through the construction of three hydroelectric plants and the rehabilitation of a fourth. These facilities provide the energy necessary for the clean running of our operations, they also provide vital electricity to local communities. On a smaller scale, we offer resettled community members the opportunity to access micro-hydropower or solar power when building or receiving their new homes, helping to build the resilience of the community. community and reduce emissions.