After assessing its human rights risk exposure in 2019, the Haile Gold Mine is implementing an action plan that will strengthen measures to safeguard employees and stakeholders from human rights impacts.
A Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) undertaken at the Haile Gold Mine in the United States has found a number of opportunities to strengthen the operation’s human rights risk mitigation measures.
In keeping with its Human Rights Policy, each of OceanaGold’s operations are required to conduct a HRIA to identify how their activities could potentially cause, contribute or are directly linked to a breach of human rights. The Policy reflects the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and other international frameworks.
Haile Gold Mine External Affairs & Social Performance Manager, Kevin Cook, said the company’s value of knowledge was fundamental to culture and organisational growth.
“At Haile, we assessed our performance against the full set of internationally recognised human rights benchmarks,” Kevin said.
“Across OceanaGold each operation will conduct HRIAs every two years, or more regularly if a material change occurs, to assess human rights risks and address any gaps in our policies, processes and practices. This determines the most salient human rights risks for our employees, contractors, supply chain workers and communities,” he said.
“Following our assessment at the Haile Gold Mine, we found we have a robust approach to human rights risks, however there were gaps in our mitigation measures that provided an opportunity to strengthen our management systems including improving human rights training for our employees.”
The assessment was conducted with the assistance of independent human rights experts, Article One. The process included a desktop review of documentation, interviews and focus groups with rightsholders and stakeholders including OceanaGold and vendor employees, management, contractors, community groups, government agencies and civil society.
“With an extensive 2021 capital works program, including the development of the Haile Underground, it is incredibly important we understand and mitigate any human rights risks that have the potential to cause harm to our operation or the people that work with us,” Kevin said.
Social Performance Advisor, Danielle Crawford said Human rights risks were mapped highlighting the causal relationship between the company and the risks to people, and then they are prioritised based on their actual or potential impact. Where HRIAs identify any human rights risks, an action plan is developed to either eliminate or mitigate those risks.
“The action plans are monitored and reported to OceanaGold’s Executive Committee as they form part of our global External Affairs and Social Performance key performance indicators,” Danielle said.
The Haile HRIA Action Plan includes remediating actions such as enhancing family benefits for employees, engaging staff in 360 feedback processes, updating policies around the hiring of security personnel, and formalising relationships with local law enforcement agencies as part of regular security risk assessments.
The Haile Gold Mine will also ensure that all contracted workers operate under contracts with embedded human rights expectations and will strengthen its human rights due diligence processes when hiring contractors and suppliers.