TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Mining majors Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold have the most detailed local procurement reporting among 40 companies examined in a new study by Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB).
Released on Wednesday, the report titled ‘Local Procurement and Public Reporting Trends across the Global Mining Industry,’ by EWB’s Mining Shared Value Venture, found that these miners’ level of disclosure provided a model for other companies to follow in future corporate responsibility reporting.
The report found that host country government officials and local mining communities were increasingly expecting to retain a greater share of the benefits from mining activities.
As such, mining companies had to effectively measure and communicate the positive economic impacts their operations were having on host countries. Local procurement was a valuable tool for mining companies to address these rising stakeholder expectations, the report found.
“In host countries, purchases of local goods and services by mining companies can create local jobs, promote skills and technology transfers, increase the integration of local companies into global value chains and aid the formalisation of the local economy.
“Local procurement also helps mining companies gain local support for their operations by keeping more of the economic benefits of mining in the regions where mining activities take place,” EWB’s Mining Shared Value Venture lead Jeff Geipel said.
Attention on local procurement in mining had been rising recently, with the World Bank releasing a new report providing guidance to West Africa in February and the government of Canada announcing this past November that its foreign embassies would help their companies purchase more locally to improve the impacts of their business activities overseas.
The study provided an overview of the global mining industry’s prioritisation of local procurement. The report authors analysed the 2012 and 2013 corporate responsibility reports of the largest mining companies globally to determine the extent to which these companies publicly reported on their local procurement strategies and programming.
“By examining the differences between current reporting practices and best practices, it is our aim that companies will adopt more comprehensive local procurement strategies and report on such strategies in more detail,” lead report author Amy Dutton noted.
EWB aimed at producing this report yearly to encourage miners to increase the level of detail they provided regarding their local procurement practices. More robust reporting would encourage companies to better track and, subsequently, better manage their local spending.
In the long term, this would improve the social and economic impacts of mining activities for all stakeholders, EWB advised.