[Kinross Gold] The gold standard for safety – by Mary Teresa Bitti (National Post – November 4, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

 Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corp. is a $17-billion market cap company with 8,000 employees in 10 countries on four continents. Its annual gold production is about 2.7 million ounces and it has more than 100 million ounces of aggregate gold and resources. It is one of the largest gold producers in the world and is working on a series of new gold mines that will also make Kinross the fastest-growing gold company in the world.

Kinross president and CEO Tye Burt says the company’s corporate culture is the adhesive that has allowed it to operate and grow safely and successfully, and that crosses cultures and geographies to link employees together and keep them focused on the same goal.

“Our culture starts from our four core values: putting people first, outstanding corporate citizenship, high performance and rigorous financial discipline,” Mr. Burt says. “These values define our top priorities. We try to live those values every day and reward our folks accordingly.

The first and perhaps most critical value is putting people first – for good reason. “Mining is an industry of hard rocks, big machinery and remote locations but at its essence it’s a people business, and if we have great people then we will succeed,” Mr. Burt says. “We’ve made it our task to find, hire, retain and train the very best people in our industry. Mining is a fundamental plank in the Canadian economy but it is also a very global business and we have to hire and retain people all over the world and even as we operate in six languages, we need to have a common starting point for everyone, and that is our culture. We expect excellence in everything we do and we define that in the Kinross Way, a set of standards, metrics, measurements and behaviours we expect across the company.”

For example, the Kinross Way for maintenance is the same in Nevada as it is in Siberia. It is a world standard for safety, an expectation of careful scheduling, reduced inventories; it defines how Kinross views excellence in maintenance.

As the company grows from 8,000 people today to 12,000 over the next four years, producing 4.5 million ounces of gold as they build approximately $6-billion in new projects, the Kinross Way will become that much more critical.

“As we welcome those new employees they need to understand and be sympathetic to and enforce the values we are talking about,” Mr. Burt says.

Understanding its role as a corporate citizen is another vital aspect of any corporate behaviour but is especially important in the mining sector.

“We have a great mineral endowment but with that comes a huge responsibility to the employees, to the communities and the host countries where we operate. A mining company cannot proceed if it doesn’t have a social licence to operate. We pride ourselves in engaging the communities and the government where we are working in order to maintain and extend and reinforce that licence to operate,” Mr. Burt says.

For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://www.nationalpost.com/gold+standard+safety/5655294/story.html