The US Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs recently honoured Newmont Ghana for Corporate Excellence in Labour and Human Rights at the 2015 Awards for Corporate Excellence (ACE).
The company emerged a 2015 finalist at a US Ambassador/American Chamber of Commerce hosted ceremony in Accra recently. With this recognition, Newmont becomes the first mining company to be nominated for the award since its inception in 1999.
Respect for Human Rights and Support for the Voluntary Principle on Security and Human Rights Newmont Ghana was recognized for its efforts at promoting human rights and labour rights within the company and in its host communities. The nomination focused on the company’s support for:
- Implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) initiative within its
Akyem and Ahafo mines in Ghana and for supporting the mining industry’s commitment to focus on implementing the VPSHR within mining companies;
- Support for Ghana’s Ebola Preparedness Plan and;
- Efforts in ensuring that Ghanaian-owned companies are considered for contracts through fair and transparent processes.
The VPSHR Initiative was established to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that encourages respect for human rights and labor rights.
In 2015, about four hundred and fifty-two (452) employees and business partners of Newmont and officers from the Public Law Enforcement Agencies participated in Newmont led trainings on the (VPSHR) at the company’s three operating sites in Ahafo, Akyem and Accra.
According to Paul Sowley, Senior Director, Sustainability and External Relations, Newmont Africa, one key focus of Newmont is to ensure peaceful co-existence with community stakeholders. As such, the company has established Complaints and Grievances (C&G) centres in its operational areas to address community complaints and provide mutually acceptable remedial actions.
The company employs a three tier mechanism to resolve all grievances from community stakeholders.
At the first level, a complaint is discussed between the company and the complainants for a mutually acceptable resolution. Where that approach fails, the issue is escalated to a third party by mutual consent. The third party could be a traditional authority, a local government official or any respectable member of society.
Should that also fail to yield the required results, each of the two parties may then refer the matter to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) or the law court for redress. “So far, our records show that over 95% of complaints from community members are resolved at the first level of the Complaints and Grievances Mechanism.” Paul Sowley said.
He expressed appreciation to the company’s host communities and assured of Newmont’s commitment to further advance the implementation of the VPSHR to safeguard the rights of stakeholders.