Reaching agreement and understanding
Stable, life-of-mine access is fundamental to the success of our business. But many of our operations are located on land that holds particular significance for local communities and land-connected peoples, including Indigenous peoples. To manage these issues and to help with approvals and permits, we form community agreements – based on finding common ground, where both parties benefit. It takes time to negotiate mutual agreements and the process can be as important as the final agreement itself.
Our approach had its beginnings at our operations in Australia, and thanks to the lessons we learned there, we are well placed to rise to the new regulations and greater expectations society has of mining companies today. To date, we have negotiated more than 40 land use agreements and more than 150 community agreements around the world. Following the signing of an agreement with the Banjima people in 2016, we have now signed agreements with all Native Title Claim groups who hold interests in the areas where we operate in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Wherever we operate, we respect the diverse culture, lifestyles, heritage and preferences of our neighbours. We work in partnership with communities to make sure we understand and protect cultural places, objects and practices. Our external commitments also govern our approach to cultural heritage – for instance as a member of ICMM we commit never to explore or mine on a World Heritage property.
We haven’t always got it right, but those occasions have taught us how to be a better neighbour. If disputes arise, we take guidance from those that – in partnership with our community stakeholders – have already been resolved. With a spirit of mutual respect, openness and collaboration, we are confident we can deliver shared value for all parties.