Human Rights

Our activities throughout the mine lifecycle have the potential to impact the rights of people. We recognize that respecting human rights not only makes business sense, it is also the right thing to do. We also believe we can, and should, positively contribute to human rights by strengthening capacity and empowering communities.

Newmont’s Guide to Respecting Human Rights provides an overview of our approach and journey and includes details on:

  • Our global human rights strategy and the activities and outcomes that demonstrate our ability to respect human rights throughout our business;
  • The key principles that underpin how we manage human rights risks across the business;
  • Our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy and governance framework, including our Human Rights Standard, which sets the minimum requirements sites must adhere to;
  • The primary mechanisms for stakeholders to raise issues related to human rights;
  • Accountability for our human rights performance;
  • The tools we use to manage our salient human rights issues – those human rights at risk of the most severe negative impact through the Company’s activities and business relationships; and
  • Our commitment to report our human rights performance in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (the “Reporting Framework”), the first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on how they respect human rights in line with the Guiding Principles.
Salient issues

We identify, monitor and manage the full spectrum of human rights risks and impacts on an ongoing basis; however, in alignment with the Reporting Framework, we focus our reporting on the eight areas identified through an internal and external stakeholder engagement process as our salient human rights issues:

  • Right to life
  • Right to water and sanitation
  • Right to an adequate standard of living
  • Right to enjoy just and favorable conditions of work
  • Discrimination in employment/occupation
  • Right to health
  • Right to not be subject to slavery or forced labor
  • Right to self-determination
Complaints and grievances

Ongoing engagement with stakeholders potentially impacted by our operations helps identify and surface issues before they escalate.

Stakeholders can file complaints and grievances through our online Ethics Solutions Tool, a manager or human resources representative, or our site-based complaints and grievances (C&G) mechanism and registers.

The issue of violence against human rights defenders – those who peacefully defend human rights – has gained international attention given the increasing number of attacks against defenders. Our core values of integrity and responsibility support our commitment to respect human rights defenders, and we do not condone any form of attack against them or anyone who opposes our activities. We also expect our business partners to condemn such attacks as well. While we do not always agree with positions taken by human rights defenders, we believe an active and open civil society, supported by the rule of law, is essential.

Security program

The basis of our global security program is working alongside host communities to protect people and assets and respect human rights. Due to their higher potential security risks, our operations in Ghana, Peru and Suriname employ or contract with on-site security personnel.

As a formal member of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) and in accordance with our Human Rights Standard, we commit to implement the Voluntary Principles (VPs), which provide an operating framework for maintaining the safety and security of our operations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

With security being one of the pillars of our artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) strategy, we have security action plans in place at locations where we encounter illegal small-scale mining. Designed to minimize conflict between illegal small-scale miners and Newmont personnel, the plans are compliant with the VPs and integrated into our broader security performance monitoring.

Security-related allegations and events must be recorded and fully investigated. Events found to be credible are reported to the appropriate authorities as well as to the VPSHR plenary, Newmont’s executive leadership team and our Board of Directors. We also annually report to the VPSHR on our efforts to implement and promote the VPs.

Engagement and training

All security personnel must complete annual training based on the VPs, and we encourage public security agencies to participate as well. Each site is responsible for conducting human rights training and designing the training to address the most relevant human rights risks. Some sites choose to extend the VP training to those who do not work in a security role, while other operations integrate human rights modules into training programs within other functions.

In 2018, we launched an online training program for employees to raise awareness about our human rights commitments, our ability to impact human rights, and how everyone working on our behalf might prevent and address potential human rights violations. The program, which is currently voluntary, is available in the official languages where our operations reside (Dutch, English and Spanish). As part of our Supplier Risk Management program, we are developing a training program for those suppliers that have an elevated likelihood to impact human rights. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Introduce suppliers to Newmont’s expectations for supplier performance on human rights (including those outlined in our Supplier Code of Conduct);
  • Provide an overview of labor rights in the context of international frameworks and expectations; and
  • Provide additional information, resources and tools to help suppliers identify and address possible issues associated with their activities.

The training discusses good practices – and potential red flags – around human rights matters such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, forced labor, human trafficking and fair wages, child labor, discrimination and potential community impacts.

Performance measurement

To progress our mindset and further embed human rights accountability across the business, our near-term focus is on assessing and managing our human rights risks within our supply chain. We expanded our public human rights targets from the ones first set in 2016 – which focused on improving the quality of security risk assessments, mitigation strategies and controls – to include targets related to managing human rights risks in our supply chain.

Advancing our human rights mindset requires collaboration through partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives. Along with our active participation in the VPSHR, we continue to share successes and challenges as early adopters of the Reporting Framework, and Newmont representatives participate in several forums on human rights, including the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.



Recognizing that embedding human rights throughout Newmont requires leaders who set the tone, in 2018, Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg was the opening plenary keynote speaker at the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, emphasizing to the more than 2,000 participants from government, business, civil society, NGOs, trade unions, academia and the media that respecting human rights is a mindset that must be the operating system that guides our actions and decisions.

To reflect the rapid changes in the human rights space, we updated our global Human Rights Standard during the year. The updated standard, which incorporates lessons learned from three years of site implementation, requires new projects, or significant changes to existing operations, to integrate an evaluation of human rights impacts into assessments (social, risk, etc.).

We also formalized our human rights strategy, which integrates the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including the fundamental requirement that we do no harm. The strategy incorporates many activities we have been undertaking since the publication of our standard in 2014. It reflects regional input and feedback from independent human rights experts.

The updated standard also aligns with one of our near-term objectives to improve how we assess and manage human rights risks in our global supply chain. We met our public target to develop consistent human rights pre-screening criteria that are integrated into the pre-qualification process in our Supplier Risk Management (SRiM) program. By year end, all sites had initiated the use of the pre-screening criteria, with the exception of Merian in Suriname, which will implement SRiM in the future.

To support our target objectives and SRiM implementation:

  • We developed an online supplier training program to support human rights compliance and performance;
  • We will put in place relevant management plans for suppliers determined to have an extreme or high likelihood of impacting human rights;
  • To support compliance with the updated Human Rights Standard, we will roll out guidance to functions, regions and sites in 2019; and
  • We will introduce a supplier audit program in 2019, which will be fully implemented in 2020.


Year Target definition Target for sites Target for Newmont
2019 Fully implement human rights pre-screening and training for suppliers 100 percent of site and regional suppliers* have been pre-screened based on human rights criteria, and human rights training for site and regional suppliers has been initiated+ All site, regional and corporate suppliers* have been pre-screened based on human rights criteria, and applicable suppliers have completed human rights training+
2020 Implement audits for suppliers with an elevated likelihood to impact human rights All sites have begun implementation of audits for suppliers with an elevated likelihood of impacting human rights The supplier human rights audit program has been integrated into the Company’s Integrated Management System and assurance audit program
* Applies to new suppliers or suppliers whose contracts are up for renewal.+ Pre-qualification process and scope of work risk assessments identify all suppliers to receive human rights training. Gradual rollout of audits will begin in 2019, with a target of two high-risk suppliers per region in 2019.

Salient issues assessment

As we continue to embed our human rights mindset, our understanding of site-level human rights risks, impacts and opportunities has improved and evolved. During the year, we conducted a review of our salient human rights issues, which we first defined in 2015 and updated in 2018.

Our cross-functional human rights working group led the review process, which considered the increased data we have on risks that may have a human rights component (as captured in our IMS) and regional input on their salient issues. The prioritization process examined the most relevant areas within the three characteristics of saliency – severity, scope and ability to be remedied.

The following table lists our salient issues as well as links throughout this report to details about how we manage each of these:

Salient Issue Description Approach and performance
Right to Life Entails the right not to be deprived of life arbitrarily or unlawfully, and the right to have one’s life protected. Safety
Human Rights (Security)
Right to water and sanitation Recognized as a separate right in 2010. Requires that water supply for each person is: sufficient to meet basic needs, safe and acceptable in terms of color, odor, and personal or domestic use (all water facilities and services must be culturally appropriate and sensitive to gender, lifecycle and privacy requirements), physically accessible and affordable. Water
Tailings, Waste and Emissions
Right to an adequate standard of living Includes adequate food, clothing, housing and continuous improvement of living conditions. It was previously interpreted as including access to sufficient water and sanitation before water became a separately recognized right in 2010. Value Sharing
Social Acceptance
Right to enjoy just and favorable conditions of work Remuneration must be enough to provide workers with a decent living for themselves and their families. This includes a right to healthy and safe conditions of work, a right to equality of opportunity for promotion, and a right to rest, leisure and holidays as part of conditions at work. Safety
Our Workplace
Value Sharing
Discrimination in employment/occupation Discrimination in employment and occupation means treating people differently and less favorably because of characteristics that are not related to their merit or the requirements of the job. These characteristics include race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction and social origin. Other kinds of discrimination that the ILO and its constituents are concerned with include age, disability, HIV/AIDS, religion and sexual orientation. Our Workplace
Value Sharing
Right to Health Refers to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. People must have access to the underlying building blocks of good health, such as adequate nutrition, housing, safe and potable water, adequate sanitation, medical supplies, healthy working conditions and a healthy environment. Health
Social Acceptance
Tailings, Waste and Emissions
Cyanide Management
Right to not be subject to slavery or forced labor Slavery occurs when one human being effectively owns another. The right to freedom from servitude covers other forms of dominance, egregious economic exploitation, and degradation of human beings. Supply Chain Stewardship
Human Rights
Right to self-determination Includes the right of peoples to develop and progress in social, economic and cultural terms, to dispose of their land’s natural resources and wealth, and not to be deprived of their own means of subsistence. Value Sharing
Social Acceptance

Significant human rights events

Tragically, seven colleagues died during the year in workplace accidents. In April 2018, six contractors working on the construction of a structure at the Ahafo Mill Expansion project in Ghana lost their lives when the roof collapsed during a concrete pour. We also lost a colleague in November at our Pete Bajo underground mine in Nevada in a vehicle incident. Details about these accidents, the investigations, lessons learned and actions we are taking to prevent future occurrences are detailed in the Safety section of this report.

We continued efforts to resolve a complex land dispute in Peru with members of the Chaupe family, who allege human rights violations by those working on behalf of our Yanacocha operation. Since 2016, Yanacocha has focused on improving communications and relationships with members of the Chaupe family following recommendations from the “Yanacocha Independent Fact Finding Mission.” In September 2017, EarthRights International (ERI), on behalf of the Chaupe family, filed suit against Newmont in U.S. federal court, and in April 2018, the court granted Newmont’s motion to dismiss, indicating the suit belongs in Peruvian, not U.S., courts. ERI appealed the ruling in 2018, and in March 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals returned the case to the lower court for reconsideration. We remain committed to finding a dialogue-based solution. Developments and our statements on the matter are publicly available on our website.

In a similar matter, Yanacocha exercised its right to possessory defense under Peruvian law after efforts to engage in dialogue failed with members of the Pajares family, who illegally erected two structures on the mine’s property. Yanacocha applied lessons learned from the Chaupe case to implement a proactive strategy focused on engagement, communication, security and the enforcement of the law, including the use of human rights observers and Peruvian National Police to document and ensure the safety of Pajares family members and Company employees. Yanacocha entered into a mediated dispute resolution process with the Pajares family in late 2018 and continued good-faith engagement with the aim of finding a mutually beneficial solution.

In 2017, local youth organizations protested at our Ahafo mine in Ghana, petitioning for additional job opportunities and skills training programs. To review the groups’ complaints and grievances, the regional minister established a seven-member independent committee, which issued a report in 2018. The committee’s recommendations and Newmont’s response are discussed in more detail in the Local Employment and Business Opportunities section of this report.

In December 2017, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) – an independent accountability mechanism for projects supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – received a complaint from a group of former employees of Yanacocha in which the group raised concerns about environmental and health impacts related to mining activities. In 2018, the CAO assessed the complaint, gathering information from both the complainants and Company representatives. A summary of the assessment process and viewpoints presented to the CAO is available online. The Company was amenable to independent dispute resolution with specific individuals in the group, but could not engage due to pending legal cases with other members of the group. The case was automatically remanded to the CAO’s compliance process, as per their mandate, which includes an appraisal of the environmental and social performance while under IFC monitoring.

Assessments and regional highlights

All operations conduct risk assessments on a regular basis and record the risks in our global risk register, which requires sites to flag risks that have a human rights component.

In Suriname, our Merian operation’s cross-functional human rights working group held its first workshop. The group developed a human rights management plan, which identified potentially affected human rights, current and future mitigation measures, and next steps.

We also conducted an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for the Sabajo project – a proposed gold mine located approximately 30 kilometers from Merian. For this assessment, we applied lessons learned from previous assessments to more fully integrate human rights considerations into our approach. Findings and insights from this assessment are discussed in the featured case study.

Modern slavery

In response to recent legal and policy developments and growing concern about modern slavery – the term used to describe human trafficking, slavery and other practices such as servitude – we published our first Modern Slavery Statement. The statement outlines our commitment to respecting human rights and highlights actions we are taking to address risks, including those associated with modern slavery, in our own operations and our supply chain. It also includes information about our SRiM program, which incorporates human rights considerations into all stages of the supplier lifecycle. We will review the statement annually and provide updates as needed.


To further embed human rights awareness throughout the entire organization, we launched an online human rights training program. All employees with a Newmont-issued computer and email address were invited, and approximately 3,400 employees completed the training. Feedback from participants included the need to reduce some of the theory in the training and provide more practical examples. Another observation was the need to increase Australian and North American employees’ understanding of human rights in the context of developed countries. This feedback will inform future updates of the program.

During the year, 2,527 employees and 4,307 contractors participated in various human rights training modules. Human rights topics were addressed in a variety of ways ranging from cross-cultural educational sessions, human resources and social responsibility inductions to modules within annual refresher courses. Training sessions focused on human rights topics ranged from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the site’s risk profile and the needs of the audience.

Our security employees and contractors, and other relevant and interested stakeholders, undergo specific training on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Participant details are included in the table below.


    Session Details Total number of participants in security training  
Region Site/location No. sessions conducted Total duration all sessions (hours) Employees Private security contractors Public security/law enforcement personnel Other external stakeholders Percentage of security personnel trained
Africa Accra 1 8 35 10 0 0 100%
Ahafo 20 30 450 100 200 0 100%
Akyem 10 40 48 163 18 217 100%
South America Suriname 16 374 0 120 66 0 100%
Yanacocha 466 1,828 8 723 666 0 100%
Total   513 2,280 541 1,116 950 217 100%
Security program

We met our public security target for all operating sites to identify high and extreme threats and have action plans in place to reduce these threats to a tolerable level. We also met our target to complete risk assessments and externally review action plans at our sites in Ghana, Peru and Suriname.

We did not experience any significant security-related events at our operations.

However, at the Buriticá project in Colombia (operated by Continental and in which Newmont is a minority interest partner), over the past two years, a number of workers have been killed and several more injured during attacks on different occasions by armed individuals. The incidents underscore the importance of protecting the human rights of those inside, as well as outside, the mine or project boundary. Although Newmont is not the operator, we work to support and influence Continental’s practices and align them as closely as possible with Newmont’s standards through the Sustainability and External Relations Committee, which includes three representatives from Newmont and four from Continental.

During the year, we commissioned KPMG for an independent security audit of our Ahafo and Akyem operations in Ghana, and we conducted similar but less detailed audits of the Merian and Yanacocha operations in South America. The audits focused on the sites’ implementation of the VPs, including how the private and public security forces at each mine protect operations and communities in a way that respects human rights. Key recommendations from the review include increasing external training on the Voluntary Principles with organizations such as public security, and further promoting the site-based complaints and grievances process with the community to increase awareness about how to file complaints. Action plans are being developed to address the reviews’ findings and recommendations.

View our featured Case Study