Currently viewing Global edition

Barrick scores a B

Gold major Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) has given itself a B in a sustainability scorecard it developed to rate its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance over 2019.
Barrick scores a B Barrick scores a B Barrick scores a B Barrick scores a B Barrick scores a B

Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow speaking with union members at Kibali in the DRC

Staff reporter

Part of its 2019 sustainability report, the scorecard used key performance indicators and the company said it intended to rank itself in quintiles against its peers where applicable, against its own metrics and roll the performance to an aggregate score.

"While we expect these indicators will evolve over time, we believe this is an important first step," Barrick said, adding it planned to update the scorecard in the second quarter to assess itself against the 2019 performance of its peers.

One of its lowest scores was for the percentage of sites certified to ISO 45001, being 23% or three of 13 operations.

It scored 100% for the percentage of supply partners trained on code of conduct on-boarding.

ESG has become an increasingly prominent consideration for miners and investors but Barrick sustainability executive Grant Beringer said the company did not report data "because it is popular, or because others do so". 

"We track our sustainability performance because it helps us make better decisions, helps to de-risk projects, discover new opportunities and deliver real value for our business," he said.

"We believe our grade this year reflects the improvements in sustainability performance we have made across the group in 2019 and our progress against many of our key performance indicators.

"It also acknowledges that there is still work to be done."

President and CEO Mark Bristow said the company had operated with zero fatalities and saw lost time injuries reduce in the Africa and Middle East region, as well as a reduction in total injuries in both North America and Africa and the Middle East in 2019.

However the overall total recordable injury frequency rate for the group rose slightly which Bristow said was impacted in part by the newly combined assets with Newmont in Nevada.

Bristow also noted it was the first report covering the assets consolidated from Acacia and said the assets in Tanzania came "with significant social and environmental challenges" and Barrick was committed to tackling them in a transparent and effective way.

He said the company recorded zero major environmental incidents in 2019 and had worked diligently to reach its water efficiency target of 70%.

He also pointed out Barrick had distributed more than US$9.3 billion during the year to its workforce, suppliers and host communities.

"As a modern mining company, we recognise that we must be a trusted long-term partner for our stakeholders to be sustainable, and that we must be sustainable to be successful," he said.

Barrick's shares have almost doubled since touching C$15.73 in May last year to hit $29.94 in February.

They closed down 2.2% yesterday to $28.41 to capitalise it at $50.5 billion (US$35.9 billion).