Leaving no one behind

UN International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021

posted: 09/08/2021

Today, 9 August 2021, marks the UN International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples.  

At Glencore, we recognise and respect Indigenous Peoples, their heritage, rights, and cultures. We seek to reach agreements with Indigenous Peoples who maintain an interest in, or connection to the land on which we operate, formalising engagement processes and sustainable benefits.

We’ve spoken to people from across our business, who work to support and engage with the Indigenous communities in the areas in which we operate.

Focusing on self-sustaining programmes in the Gulf region, Australia

In 2007, the McArthur River Mine (MRM) Community Benefits Trustwas established as a partnership between our zinc-lead mine MRM, the Northern Territory Government, and the local community. The Trust aims to facilitate sustainable development, build infrastructure to create jobs, enhance the positive impact of our mining operations, and create jobs and training opportunities for individuals in the Gulf region of Australia. On average, Glencore has donated around AUD 1.3M per year since the Trust was founded.

According to David Oestreich, CBT Board Member and Glencore Zinc Asset Manager, a key objective of the Trust is to ensure the projects it supports have long-term, self-sustaining benefits.  The challenge with this is finding the right programmes. 

It’s a question of finding ways to make meaningful commitments and contributions. We have to be selective about what projects are driven forward, as we want to focus on delivering long-lasting benefits.

David Oestreich - CBT Board Member and Glencore Zinc Asset Manager

To help achieve this objective, the CBT engages dedicated project management officers to work with individuals in the community, supporting the formalisation of community fund requests.  This has helped improve the quantity and the quality of the projects coming before the Trust, ensuring grants are targeted at projects that will make a difference in community as well as leveraging support from other funding providers. 

May 2021 CBT Board Meeting

May 2021 CBT Board Meeting

The CBT Board consists of nine directors, including a representative from each local language group (Gudanji, Garrwa, Yanyuwa, and Marra), ensuring that the projects supported by the Trust are in the interest of the local communities.

Breakfast in Borroloola

One of the projects David is most proud of the Trust for supporting is The Borroloola School Breakfast programme, which is committed to providing breakfast to local students daily. The project encourages improved school attendance and learning outcomes. As children learn about the importance of nutrition, they gain in independence, which will bring long-term benefits to the community. Borroloola School enjoys one of the highest student attendance record of any regional or remote school in the Northern Territory and the breakfast program is credited as being part of that success.

Creating Pathways

Glencore Coal Australia’s Indigenous Employment Pathways Program offers employment opportunities to Aboriginal persons who live in or are connected to the areas where we operate, and who are unemployed but actively seeking work in the resources sector. The goal of the programme is to equip Indigenous Australians with the skills necessary to find employment.
Participants are supported throughout the 26 week-long programme by trained mentors, who are available to provide guidance during the adjustments associated with moving away from home, working on an operational site, and completing the necessary courses and work experience to fulfil the programme requirements.

Phase 1 of Pathways ensures participants develop skills and acquire qualifications necessary to work in the resources sector.  A range of additional training is also included in Phase 1, with the New South Wales Programme including traffic controller qualifications and forklift licenses, as well as other life skills such as cooking, budgeting, writing resumes and cover letters, and interviewing for job placements. This affords everyone the opportunity to seek alternative employment, within and beyond the mining sector. Phase 1 focuses on Health and Safety, including risk assessments and management, as laid out in our SafeCoal framework and Safety Hazard Protocol. Participants complete the extraction industry certifications necessary to progress to Phase 2 of the programme, which includes practical work experience in open cut mining.

In 2021, the Pathways team held information sessions within Aboriginal communities and meetings with Traditional Owner groups to seek their direct input into the programme.

“We had a lot of community information sessions and meetings with local Aboriginal groups and service providers to seek there direct input.” – Tim Walls, Approvals and Cultural Heritage Manager, Glencore Coal Australia, New South Wales.

Zhyianjamin Harris learned about Pathways Program through the community and joined an Open Day:  

This programme was my chance to get a job within the mining industry. I had tried to get into mining for five years before starting the program.  Pathways Program is second to none.

Zhyianjamin Harris - 2021 Pathways Program participant and Trainee Operator at Bulga Coal

In the Hunter Valley the Pathways team has taken part in meaningful improvement projects with the local Aboriginal Land Council, focusing on local engagement in order to maintain connection and relationships with the community.

Queensland Pathways (Glenden) participants

Queensland Pathways (Glenden) participants

This programme is a work in progress. It provides training and work experience, but just as importantly, it is a way for Indigenous people to connect back to country and shape their own future. We take on feedback from everyone to make sure we’re doing what we can to provide the best opportunity.

Brian French - Approvals and Cultural Heritage Manager, Glencore Coal Australia Queensland

“This programme has support from the highest levels of the organization.  [We are] highly invested in the process, and it’s important that we provide this avenue for people to have this experience.” - John Watson, General Manager Environment and Community for Coal Australia

Tamatumani – “a second start” for the Inuit

In Nunavik, the far north of Quebec, located in Canada, Raglan Mine runs the Tamatumani training programme. The two-year course trains participants from Inuit communities to be miners and on completion, offers them permanent positions at Raglan Mine. The programme was founded in 2008 and today is run by Inuit people from the region. In addition to its commitment to hiring, training, mentoring, and promoting Inuit people, the programme hosts annual events for the wider Raglan Mine operation and community, celebrating Nunavimmiuts history and culture.

As Raglan Mine’s Tamatumani Coordinator, Siasi Kanarjuak has led the programme since 2013.  In her eight years, the number of Inuit employees working at the site has doubled, and more programmes providing on-the-job training have been introduced. As such, more Inuit employees are stepping into positions of leadership and responsibility.

Siasi Kanarjuak

Siasi Kanarjuak, Tamatumani Coordinator

Tamatumani Coordinator

Having a management team support Tamatumani and its initiatives makes a big difference. That is how we were able to complete numerous projects, welcome a greater number of Inuit workers at the mine, and promote them into higher roles.

One such project, Pigunnaqugut, is a programme that was designed to advance Inuit miners within the company. The programme provides intensive training, fast-tracking Inuit employees to qualify as miners. It is through this programme that Daniel Roussel from Kuujjuarapik became Raglan Mine’s first Development Miner in 2017.

When Siasi first joined Raglan Mine, she proudly represented Glencore at the Women in Mining conference, informing people of how the site operates and our Tamatumani programme.  “I was new to the mining industry and it made me realise that the mining world and what we can offer is not well communicated.” Siasi and the Inuit Recruitment team have made great progress, and are committed to recruiting locals into these programmes, offering support in Inuktitut, French, and English.

The next 20 years and beyond

Although Raglan Mine is expected to remain operational for at least another 20 years, at Glencore, we realise that to be a responsible operator, we need to responsibly plan for mine closure.  As such, Raglan Mine’s Closure Plan Subcommittee was launched in 2018 to work more closely with our Inuit partners and include their traditional knowledge when developing the mine’s closure plan. 

The Closure Plan Subcommittee benefits from being multi-stakeholder, organised far in advance of closure, and made up of members who are willing and committed to achieving the goals that have been set. Through the work of the subcommittee, there are consistent opportunities to learn from one another, apply a wide variety of expertise (Inuit, industry, and academic), and maximise the strengths and capacities of Inuit communities. 

The subcommittee includes Inuit partners from both Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq, representatives of Makivik Corporation and Raglan Mine, and experts in engineering and the social sciences. The subcommittee hosts meetings to provide information to our partners, allowing for the exchange of ideas for positive contributions, as well as the sharing of important information across communities.

A leg up

Our Akkivik programme (meaning “to give a leg up” in Inuktitut) supports projects to provide direct and long-term social and economic development, at a local level, to our host communities in Kangiqsujuaq and Salluit. The programme aims to support culture, community health and well-being, education, training and leadership development, entrepreneurial capacity development and job creation, and food and energy security. In addition to our Akkivik programme, Raglan Mine supports community development through our donation and sponsorship programme, 
donating goods, and contributing staff time to volunteering.

Jimmy Uqaituk, Geologist Technician at Raglan Mine

Work doesn’t need to feel like a job when you’ve found your passion. The key to finding your passion is education, and I encourage my inuuqatik (fellow Inuit) to get educated,” says Jimmy Uqaituk from Puvirnituq. Jimmy joined Raglan in 2001 as a summer student.

Jimmy Uqaituk

tags: Global Australia Canada Zinc Coal Nickel Community