Barrick has participated in an innovative pilot project designed to help mining companies better assess and manage their potential impacts on the rights of children.
While mining companies have long recognized children as vulnerable stakeholders, most companies don’t classify children as a distinct stakeholder group in their human rights impact assessments. Instead, companies typically view children as an embedded group within the family or community.
“Very few companies have standalone child human rights policy commitments, except for the prevention of child labor,” says Simon Chorley, International Programs Manager at UNICEF Canada, which developed the pilot. “Yet children’s rights go well beyond child labor. Children are vulnerable and have specific needs. Therefore they have specific rights such as the right to protection, the right to education, the right to family life, and the right to play time.”
Because mining companies don’t usually distinguish between adults and children, they can face challenges in understanding how children’s rights are directly or indirectly impacted by their activities. Barrick recognizes the importance of applying a children’s rights lens to its due diligence processes.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve our assessment tools, and this project allowed us to focus deeply on a vulnerable population and see where we could better align ourselves with key children’s rights,” says Jonathan Drimmer, Deputy General Counsel at Barrick.
UNICEF partnered with UK-based consultancy twentyfifty for the pilot project. Twentyfifty conducted interviews with Barrick and other participating companies to understand their assessment processes and followed up with detailed feedback on how to integrate a children’s rights perspective. Each company then incorporated this feedback into an assessment at one of their operations.
In Barrick’s case, the assessment was conducted in 2014 at its Lagunas Norte mine in Peru. The field work was done by Avanzar, a California-based consultancy commissioned by Barrick to conduct annual, independent human rights impact assessments at select Barrick operations.
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