Advancing Together With Barrick Gold

People Mining Doesn’t Last Forever (but the wealth it leaves behind can)

Mining historically hasn’t been regarded as a sustainable industry—just think about stories of ghost towns left behind in its wake in decades past. Barrick’s new sustainability vision challenges this notion, setting the Company up to work with host communities not only to develop local business expertise, but to preserve it after a mine closes.

The training that local suppliers and contractors receive is a way to ensure that shared and sustainable prosperity is created in host communities.

 

In rural Peru, where Barrick operates the Lagunas Norte and Pierina mines, the Company’s sustainability vision—to partner with host governments and communities to transform their natural resources into mutual prosperity—is manifesting itself on the ground in the work that Barrick is doing with local suppliers and contractors.

“We have training programs, through partnerships with local and regional colleges and non-governmental organizations, that give community members the skills and certifications needed to work for Barrick or for any other prospective client in the country,” says Jose Chang, Barrick’s Senior Manager of Community Relations in Peru. “It’s a way of ensuring that mutual shared prosperity is created.”

This is part of Barrick’s local content program, which includes training tailored to each prospective supplier’s and contractor’s needs. Some suppliers may struggle with administration, management or finances, while contractors may lack the raw skills or certifications required by certain clients.

“Here at Barrick, for example, the operations team will ask us to find them drivers with more than five years of experience, which is difficult to do in rural Peru,” Chang says. “However, we can get a driver trained by a Peruvian institute so that, in 40–60 days, they’ll be certified to drive at a mine; we then take them through a site safety induction to make sure they’re equipped to identify hazards on site.”

The community relations team also plays an important role in the local content program, serving as a bridge that brings various groups together. They form linkages, for example, between the human resources and supply chain teams, and academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and prospective contractors or suppliers to facilitate work opportunities. The supply chain and human resources teams tailor training programs based on technical considerations and operational needs.

“This training measure has allowed contractors and local suppliers to meet health and safety, service quality, and business administration requirements,” says Eduardo Cabrera, Senior Manager for Supply Chain in Peru. “This in turn has helped some of these local companies obtain contracts for their services
outside of Barrick.”
 

Braving Entrepreneurial Fear

Próspero Zarzosa is General Manager of ESMIMSA, a water system repair and maintenance company based in Peru’s Ancash region. ESMIMSA has provided services to the Pierina mine—also located in Ancash—for the past four years.

“In 2013, I worked for a local contractor on the construction of the Pierina water treatment plant,” Zarzosa says. “The next year, a few people from our community of Mareniyoc created ESMIMSA and made me General Manager. To help us bid for contracts, Barrick supported my training through workshops that have been a great benefit to us.”

Zarzosa and other local contractors and suppliers received training through APRENDA, an organization that partnered with Barrick’s Pierina and Lagunas Norte mines to provide training to local suppliers. The objective of the program was to help these suppliers develop other clients outside of mining.

Zarzosa notes that initially ESMIMSA would seek work only from Barrick, but as the company, which has eight employees, became increasingly confident, it began to look further afield. ESMIMSA recently helped another industrial company with cistern and spray system installation and maintenance work in Ancash. It was also recently subcontracted by COSAPI, a mining services company, for a project funded through the Obras Por Impuestos program, which helps expedite construction of public infrastructure.

“This challenges the narrative that local labor is not able to do the work to industry standards,” Chang says. In addition to providing training to suppliers in Ancash, Barrick also supports suppliers in the region of La Libertad, where the Lagunas Norte mine is located, through a partnership with the La Libertad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This provides the suppliers access to the chamber’s programs
and workshops.
 

Measuring Success

Program success relies on community participation. Every month, the Pierina and Lagunas Norte community relations teams hold a meeting attended by labor committees from the mines’ host communities. Here, information about existing contract opportunities and certifications is made available to suppliers.

In the case of contractors, Barrick meets regularly with them and provides a rubric that indicates what jobs are available and the skills and certifications required. The contractors can then match themselves up accordingly and bid for jobs if they meet the required criteria, be it for cartography, security work, construction, or other opportunities.

Both the supplier’s performance and the quality of training provided by Barrick and its partners are continually assessed. These assessments are entirely transparent. If there is a deficiency in their service, then the community relations, human resources and supply chain teams work together to train the contractor to do better next time. All feedback is shared with the contractor.

“The success of our local content program would not be possible without the support from the various levels of management at the mine,” Chang says. “Yes, it has its challenges, but we’re achieving results, and these businesses will be well-equipped to survive long after mining stops.”