Indigenous employee maintaining 3 point contact on locomotive, Weipa Operations

Indigenous Peoples

We pay our respects to Elders past and present and commit to supporting and developing tomorrow’s Indigenous leaders from within our business – and beyond.

Many of our operations are on or near land that is significant to Indigenous communities. We recognise the cultural, spiritual and physical connections that Indigenous Peoples have with land, water, plants and animals.

We know we have work to do to be better partners with Indigenous Peoples. There have been defining moments, such as Juukan Gorge, that have compelled us to evolve our approach. We are determined to strengthen our approach to engagement with Indigenous Peoples in every country where we work.

We remain committed to learning and moving forward in new ways – always side by side – with the communities that host us.

We respect internationally recognised human rights including those set out in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and those established under UNDRIP.

Upholding rights

Indigenous Peoples are entitled to all human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, international law recognises their collective rights to their land and its resources, inclusive of special and spiritual relationships they may have with both, warrant particular attention and protection.

We seek to operate in a manner consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognises the right of Indigenous Peoples to “maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources” (Article 25).

We strive to achieve the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples (as defined in the IFC Performance Standard 7 on “Indigenous Peoples”) in line with the International Council on Mining and Metals position statement on Indigenous Peoples and mining.

Guided by global standards

Our approach to engaging with Indigenous Peoples aligns with the ICMM Sustainability Framework, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We use the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability; our CSP standard commits us to compliance with the following IFC Performance Standards:

As members of the ICMM, we support the commitments outlined in ICMM’s Indigenous Peoples and Mining Position statement and ICMM’s Mining Principles. We also support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Australian Advisory Group

We established the Australian Advisory Group (AAG) in 2022 to provide independent expert advice to our executives on matters impacting our operations in Australia, with a priority focus on First Nations issues and opportunities. The group met four times in 2023, including site visits to Weipa and the Pilbara. An independent review of the AAG was finalised in October to ensure the AAG continues to operate in a way that adds genuine value to our business.

Improving our standards and practices

We are refining, updating, and enhancing our management systems, standards and reporting to ensure we understand and manage risk.

In 2022, we refreshed our global communities and social performance (CSP) standard to reflect our commitment to improving practice, and continue to review our CSP risks and controls across our business. We are monitoring the external environment and engaging with stakeholders to ensure we respond to emerging trends in practical and appropriate ways.

Through our CSP Area of Expertise, we provide specialised regional and technical support and deep subject matter expertise in the areas of Indigenous People, heritage, agreements, economic development, resettlement, social impact analysis, and social risk. This support aims to improve our practices on the ground at our global assets.

Cultural awareness

In Australia, our national Cultural Connection program ensures that our leaders have an informed understanding of Indigenous culture and know how to build strong trusted relationships with the Indigenous community and Indigenous employees.

We also have regional-specific cultural awareness training in our product groups and assets which complements our Australia-wide program. At our Iron Ore business in the Pilbara, we deliver a co-developed cultural awareness training via immersive virtual reality. We are also rolling out regionally specific, Traditional Owner-led cultural awareness training in the Pilbara.

In Canada, we continue to create learning opportunities for our people to raise awareness about the history, culture and rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2023, we introduced a new online training on awareness of Indigenous culture and issues, across all our Canadian sites.

We want to inspire a shared sense of custodianship of the land, and an elevated understanding and empathy towards the region's Traditional Owners, their culture, heritage and story.”

- Jason, Traditional Owner Engagement

In Australia


Indigenous leaders in Australia (6 in 2020)


Increase in spend with Indigenous suppliers in Australia from 2022 to 2023 to A$725 million


spent with Indigenous suppliers in Canada

2023 figures

Australian heritage legislation reform

We support strengthening safeguards for cultural heritage at both state and Commonwealth legislative levels. These reforms must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are placed at the centre of decision-making on matters relating to protection of their cultural heritage.

We continue to work with Indigenous Peoples and communities to ensure we better understand their priorities and concerns, minimise our impacts, and responsibly manage Indigenous cultural heritage within our operations.

Our Commitment to Indigenous Australia
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