Ensuring the security of our people, our assets and the supporting infrastructure is a priority for our African operations. Working in complex environments means we need to identify risks and potential factors of instability using a comprehensive management strategy.
We are fully aware of the security challenges for our operations; our security departments are constantly confronted with cases of theft, break-ins and assaults on our people. We are committed to avoiding any exacerbation of local issues and disruption to our community relations while protecting our people and assets.
In the DRC, illegal intrusion by artisanal miners into our concessions is still a significant operational and social risk.
We know that artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a complex phenomenon. We try to engage transparently and openly with all our stakeholders to address the root causes of artisanal mining and find long-term solutions together. Stakeholders include community representatives, local authorities and relevant institutional bodies, and civil society representatives.
Our security departments ensure that their activities are conducted in alignment with our policies and our commitment to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (Voluntary Principles), as well as national legislation.
In 2013, we began implementing the Voluntary Principles at our DRC operations. Throughout 2014 we delivered training on human rights and the Voluntary Principles to our own security employees and security service providers, tailored to lower literacy levels and delivered in the local language.
We also engaged with public security forces deployed at or near to our concessions to raise their awareness of international human rights standards. To achieve this, we worked with MONUSCO, a UN organisation tasked with peacekeeping in the DRC, which delivered specialised training. Finally, we developed a memorandum of understanding with the public security agencies, detailing our commitments to the Voluntary Principles.
In addition, our security people regularly attend meetings with local communities to learn of any concerns about the conduct of our security teams. Our DRC operations also run a complaints mechanism and all allegations of human rights violations by security forces are investigated internally, and in collaboration with the judicial authorities where appropriate.
1,650 employees and contractors received training on the Voluntary Principles and our Code of Conduct for security, while 50 mine police received induction sessions on the subject during 2014.