OceanaGold is committed to being a good neighbour, and how we engage and work with communities affected by our operations is a fundamental aspect of how we do business from exploration, to project development, to operations and the transition to closure.
Didipio Mine engages with communities to improve our management of key issues and impacts, identify opportunities, inform our business strategy and activities, collaboratively develop social investment programs, and respond to concerns or issues relating to our business activities.
Didipio works with 11 communities adjacent to the mine. These include the host community of Didipio and 10 surrounding communities, a total of more than 15,000 residents. Three downstream communities are in the municipality of Cabarroguis in the province of Quirino, and seven upstream communities are in the municipality of Kasibu in the province of Nueva Vizcaya.
We regularly visit communities and engage with the community councils and residents. Building strong relationships and dialogue with host and adjacent communities is vital to the way we operate.
Contribution to the Philippines
Wherever we work, we invest in the well-being of our communities by supporting programs that improve health, education, infrastructure, and capacity building.
Between 2013 and 2018, the Didipio Mine has invested over PHP 39.5 billion (US$790 million). This includes development expenditure for its host and neighbouring communities, community investment projects, payments to national or local suppliers and contractors, government taxes and employee wages. Of this expenditure, 96 per cent (PHP 38.3 billion) was paid to employees, government and businesses through salaries, taxes and procurement while PHP 1.2 billion was spent for community development.
At Didipio we work with communities to establish a forum for collaboration and decision-making across all social investment programs. The forum has six pillars – Education, Environment, Health, Business Development, Training and Infrastructure – and each pillar is governed by a steering committee of community leaders and government agencies. A Central Steering Committee composed of the Didipio Mayor, the community captain and the General Manager of the Didipio Mine help coordinate initiatives across the pillars.
Memorandums of Agreement (MOA)
Since the early 1990s, companies responsible for exploration and development at Didipio have made agreements with host and adjacent communities to invest in social infrastructure and services. Many of these commitments were executed at the time the agreement was made, while others were scheduled to be delivered after the commencement of mining operations.
We continue to honour these commitments which include infrastructure projects such as roads, schools, a medical facility, and other initiatives focused on agricultural development, skills building and small business development.
Recently-delivered projects include:
- The newly-constructed 10-bed Didipio Family Health Centre handed over to the community in 2018. The Health Centre will provide health services to the community upon completion of requirements set forth by the Department of Health.
- Construction of a three-story senior high school building for the Eastern Nueva Vizcaya National High School, which we turned over to the Department of Education in 2017, and where more than 600 students are currently enrolled.
- More than 100kms of roads to provide communities easier access to market and the business districts.
Local Supplier Development: Dicorp
In 2011, OceanaGold provided seed funding to host community residents to establish the Didipio Community Development Corporation (Dicorp). Dicorp is a community owned enterprise with long-term Didipio residents as shareholders, and a total gross revenue of $US24 million.
Dicorp has progressively grown over the years, becoming one of the largest businesses in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. Dicorp provides several services to OceanaGold, including camp administration and catering, transport and trucking, sales and distribution, engineering and projects, wholesale and retailing, waste management and infrastructure development.
Dicorp currently has 292 local employees and 428 Didipio shareholders. Our continued partnership is focused on Dicorp’s capability development, to support their sustainability, even after the life of mine.
Agriculture has been, and continues to be, an important livelihood for local families, and Didipio has ongoing agricultural initiatives in our 11 host and adjacent communities in Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. These include:
Collaboration with the Department of Agriculture on strengthening traditional and organic farming practices.
Supporting the organization of 13 agricultural cooperatives (some of whom provide food to Didipio’s mining camp).
Partnerships with Grameen Australia Philippines and local farmers to promote organic farming and with Business for Development and local farmers to improve market opportunities for coffee.
There have been allegations the mine has negatively impacted agriculture, especially citrus. Data from the Philippines Statistics Authority shows that production of corn and palay (rice at the stage prior to husking) has increased from 2011 to 2016 in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
Agricultural Research on Citrus Production of the Municipality of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya prior 2008 to 2016, an independent study conducted by the Municipal Agricultural Office of the Municipality of Kasibu, outlines a decline in citrus production beginning in 2011 due to pest and disease infestation resulting in low yields. Most of the remaining citrus plantations in the area are located more than eight kilometres upstream from the Didipio mine in Barangays of Malabing, Wangal, Tadji and Binogawan.
In 2015, we commissioned an entomologist from the University of the Philippines to conduct and onsite investigation at local citrus farms. The report validated that the citrus farms were affected by the citrus tristeza virus that had spread from other affected citrus farms in southern Luzon. This research included a forum to share methods for preventing further spread of the pest and disease infestation and production and post-harvest techniques.
We continue to strengthen our focus on agriculture and support non-mining livelihoods as a key part of Didipio’s long-term closure strategy.
Livelihoods and measuring social impacts and change
OceanaGold is committed to improving our understanding of how our operations generate change and impact at the local, regional and national levels. At Didipio, this includes the social outcomes and tangible benefits delivered by the SDMP and other community programs, the livelihood and socio-economic impacts related to our operations and impacts on land, water and biodiversity.
Didipio is currently reviewing the household studies and livelihood baselines implemented during the exploration, project development and operational phases of the mine. We are working with external experts and in collaboration with communities and government to better-understand how the mining operation has contributed to change over time, the community’s perceptions and concerns, and to identify improvements – including the economic standing and welfare of local communities.
The development of Didipio from an exploration project to an operating mine occurred over 19 years. We respect human rights at all our operations, and OceanaGold has a framework of policies and commitments for how we all operate. This includes a commitment to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. We periodically review the alignment of our operations and activities with our policies.
In 2018, we commenced a two-year effort to enhance Human Rights respect and performance in the business, including training for executive leadership, our Board, management teams and staff, and a human rights due diligence process conducted across our global operations. We are implementing this due diligence process in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Complaints and grievances
The Didipio Mine regularly engages with local communities to collaborate on social development initiatives, address community questions and concerns about our operations, and listen to feedback on how to improve our performance.
The complaints process was formalized in 2012 and is continuously reviewed and updated as required. Since then Didipio has received 110 grievances, of which 75 have been resolved and closed, 19 are the subject of ongoing investigation, and 16 have been elevated to a Panel of Arbitrators comprising the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region Two. This includes complaints received prior to 2012.
We have regular community meetings, and a community-based office through which community members can raise concerns and be provided feedback. We also have a confidential whistle-blower hotline service, managed by Deloitte, through which anyone can report concerns relating to non-compliance with our corporate Code of Conduct.