2021 saw OceanaGold release its first Modern Slavery statement to address how the company will assess and monitor its exposure to modern slavery risks. It forms part of the approach to human rights as the company works toward implementing all 10 of the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles by 2022.
The latest Global Slavery Index, published in 2018, showed there were 40.3 million people living in modern slavery in 2016, 71 per cent of them women and girls. And closer to home, the International Labour Organisation and Australian anti-slavery organisation, Walk Free, estimates there are 15,000 people being kept in slave-like conditions in Australia.*
“Sadly, modern slavery is a challenge that exists globally,” OceanaGold’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Liang Tang, said. “As a responsible multinational mining company, we want to make sure we’re taking the right approach, so we are not causing or contributing to modern slavery.”
In 2018, Australia passed the Modern Slavery Act 2018, which requires entities that have an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and actions to address those risks.
As a Reporting Entity under the Act, OceanaGold is required to prepare a statement that outlines the risks of modern slavery practices in its operations and supply chains, and those of any entities it owns or controls, for each financial year.
In June 2021, OceanaGold released its first Modern Slavery Statement to report on the work undertaken in 2020. This included reviewing its tier one supply chain and assessing suppliers’ inherent risks on a low-to-high scale.
“Modern slavery exploits vulnerable people and abuses their basic human rights,” Liang said. “It’s a complex issue and not necessarily one that’s easy to identify.”
“Addressing potential modern slavery risks is complex and we are in the early stages of our work. At OceanaGold knowledge is one of our values and our approach to modern slavery risk and our annual Modern Slavery Statements will focus on continuous improvement.”
The approach is backed by the OceanaGold Board of Directors and Executive Committee who are committed to developing a framework that will help the company better understand potential modern slavery risks and guide its response.
“Earning the right to operate long into the future means understanding our broader societal impacts and working closely with suppliers, communities, governments and global organisations to maintain our high standards and continue to enhance our practices over time.”
“We look forward to sharing our progress in our future statements.”