Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp. has mine sites on five continents and bills itself as the world's largest gold producer. Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Wayne W. Murdy, the $4.4 billion company has made much of the principle of stewardship, including commitments to the environment and community health.
IW: What is Newmont's concept of corporate stewardship, particularly as it relates to environmental protection and community health?
Murdy: Newmont's future is dependent on its ability to develop, operate and close mines consistent with our commitment to sustainable development, protection of human life, health, the environment, and adding value to the communities in which we operate. Our social responsibility commitments form an integral part of our operations.
Our commitment to sustainability has been enhanced through our membership in the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an organization comprised of the world's leading natural-resource companies. Newmont is a founding member of the ICMM, and I am privileged to chair this group. ICMM members are committed to sustainable development principles, including public reporting on performance in accordance with the United Nations Global Reporting Initiative.
As part of our business strategy, we actively participate in a number of global sustainability initiatives to help guide our performance. For example, in 2005, we became one of the first gold-mining companies to commit to the International Cyanide Management Code, which was developed by the United Nations Environmental Programme. The code contains standards for the management of all aspects of cyanide use and addresses the safety of employees, local communities and the environment.
Our Five Star program, with standards based on globally recognized programs from the International Organization for Standardization, drives continuous improvement in the management of health and safety, environment, and community relations performance. Each operating site is assessed annually by external assessors to monitor progress in implementing these global standards.
In 2005, we established a community health initiative to take a collaborative approach to community health with other organizations such as universities, government agencies, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and the local communities where we operate. This important initiative will help us understand general health conditions and public health systems in local communities, assess potential health impacts from mining activities, promote collaborations to enhance community health and well-being, and identify opportunities for sustainable health care improvements in the communities where Newmont operates.
IW: What is the nature of the partnership between Newmont and the University of Colorado School of Medicine to assess local health conditions before mines are opened?
Murdy: As part of our community health initiative, Newmont established a collaboration with the University of Colorado (CU) Health Sciences Center. In 2005, CU conducted health assessments of communities around our Conga site in Peru and our Ahafo site in Ghana. The assessments highlighted pressing health issues, including access to water, sanitation and health education, and identified a series of initiatives which could significantly improve community health and health services capacity in each region. Newmont and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center will continue to work with local communities, NGOs and relevant governmental authorities to develop and implement these recommendations. This year, we will also begin to broaden the scope of this health initiative to include other operating sites.
IW: Why do you build health care clinics around your mines?
Murdy: One of the ways Newmont can add value to communities in developing countries and contribute to sustainable development is through the support of health infrastructure improvements. Working in collaboration with local government and organizations, we provide community investment through cash and in-kind donations to support and enhance existing programs to improve the health of communities around our operations and projects. Through the upgrading of existing or development of new health care clinics and programs, we can increase community access to immunizations, HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling, testing and treatment, malaria prevention and general health care.
Our mines are often some of the first industrialization in the countries where we operate, and we are committed to helping our communities benefit from the success of our business.