Mining

24 survey respondents classified themselves as being in the mining sector. They generally stood out as having the most sophisticated understanding of human rights due diligence, which is perhaps linked to historical issues in this area: 50% of respondents indicated that their company has been connected to allegations of human rights impacts.

73.69% of respondents in the mining sector confirmed that they had undertaken express human rights due diligence; the highest amongst our focus sectors:

  • 100% of these processes were conducted with reference to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, 90% to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 80% to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
  • In 50% of these cases the process was integrated into other processes, including: environmental impact assessments (66.67%), mergers/acquisitions, developing a plant/factory/mine/facility in a new area or community, entering into a partnership with a government, and for auditing purposes (all at 33.33%).
  • 80% of companies identified human rights impacts through their human rights due diligence process. 55.56% of companies identified human rights impacts related to their third parties.
  • In 75% of these cases, the function/department responsible for identifying the human rights impact was CSR and/or Legal, followed by Procurement/Supply Chain Management and/or Human Resources (58.33% respectively).
  • In 77.78% of these cases the CSR function was responsible for implementing action(s) to prevent, mitigate or remedy actual or potential adverse impacts.

Of those who have not undertaken specific human rights due diligence, 80% have taken human rights into account in other due diligence processes, such as workplace health and safety, labour rights, or equality/non-discrimination (75% respectively) and community, indigenous or land rights (50%).

The impacts identified by respondents for the mining sector included:

  • Involuntary relocation/ community settlement
  • Impacts on indigenous communities in the vicinity of the operations
  • Impacts on non-indigenous communities in the vicinity of the operations
  • Environmental impacts
  • Impacts on land
  • Impacts on water
  • Security
  • Potential impacts of fly-in, fly-out workforce
  • Gender discrimination and other forms of discrimination
  • Health and safety
  • Artisanal mining
  • Supply chain issues, including conflict minerals

Mining companies led the way in other areas, particularly around the management of the risk of human rights impacts occurring as a result of business partner conduct. In particular 100% of mining companies used contractual clauses with business partners in order to prevent or address human rights impacts, compared to a figure of 77.42% across all sectors. Similarly, 100% of mining companies implement training (for employees or the employees of business partners), compared to 58.06% across all sectors.

That said, our survey suggests the sector is facing a challenge in terms of exerting leverage over third parties. While half of the respondents indicated that they had significant leverage over small suppliers, only 41.67% felt they had reasonable leverage over large suppliers. An even lower number, 36.36%, indicated that they have some leverage over government entities (although admittedly this was the highest among the focus sectors, perhaps because of the level of direct engagement mining companies have with governments around concession licences).

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