Community relationships

Community relationships

Developing strong, trusting and lasting relationships with our host communities, and recognising and respecting people’s human rights and cultural heritage, are principles embedded in our business values, policies and standards. We aim to be a good neighbour across all our operations and build relationships that share benefits and secure community support for our work.

We have strong processes for managing human rights risks. We pay particular attention to human rights issues – such as water resources, land access, resettlement and security – that may be commonly associated with mining activities.

Our Communities and Social Performance (CSP) standard guides how we maintain our community relationships. It covers how we monitor and manage day-to-day impacts and concerns, identify and manage social risks, form long-term community agreements and close operational sites.

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The CSP standard is supported by guidance notes which describe our site procedures. These are aligned with international guidelines, such as the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability and International Council on Mining & Metals’ Position Statement on Indigenous peoples and mining.

All our sites must have a complaints, disputes and grievance mechanism that meets the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights criteria. Our businesses also measure and report on their performance against their CSP targets.

We undertake social and economic impact assessments to understand the implications of our activities and reduce any negative impacts. We collaborate with local communities to develop clear and transparent agreements, which are essential to providing access to land we require and for directing benefits to those affected by our activities.

Partnership is make or break for our industry and for Rio Tinto. We have only one licence to operate and therefore we have to make sure we have the right relationship and the right level of trust between ourselves, our communities, our governments, our employees and suppliers, wherever we work.

Jean-Sébastien Jacques, chief executive


Australian companies, including 58 local Cape York businesses and 10 Indigenous businesses engaged at Amrun

Strong and prosperous communities

We seek to use the natural resources we have access to responsibly, and to share the benefits with host communities. Through our investments in, for example, health and education services, our business makes significant, positive contributions to the growth of local economies and the improvement of living conditions.

Regional economic development is a key part of the community and stakeholder engagement plans that every operation has. These plans describe opportunities and regional priorities. We also help our stakeholders to develop their own plans and we set up investment funds, trusts and foundations to help them achieve their goals and to deliver long-term benefits.

We employ local people and engage local businesses. We also build the skills of local workforces and work on employment-related programmes to help youth, women and Indigenous people benefit from employment and procurement opportunities.

Mutually beneficial partnerships

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. Agreements form an essential part of the planning, operation and closure actions of every project and operational site.

Our agreements are based on finding common ground, where both parties benefit. They provide transparent and measurable commitments on how we will share the benefits. It takes time to negotiate mutual agreements and the process can be as important as the final agreement itself.


resources company to obtain an Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan

Respecting culture and heritage

Wherever we operate, and particularly in less-industrialised areas, we respect the diverse cultures, lifestyles, heritage and preferences of our neighbours. We work with all communities to understand and protect cultural places, objects and practices.

All our operations maintain and implement a cultural heritage management system. This requires undertaking cultural heritage risk assessments to identify and understand cultural heritage values, their significance and management plan options. Our CSP standard, Cultural heritage management guidance and Why cultural heritage matters document provide practical guidance for our teams.

Download the full
2016 Sustainable
development report

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