Northern Star acknowledges the recommendations of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) that requires companies to engage with stakeholders based on an analysis of the local context. We recognise that the data generated by independent, objective social impact assessments (SIAs) can be a valuable source of information on how we are achieving in social performance, and how we can improve.
The findings of these SIA reports are used to prioritise the social performance team’s work, targeted to key stakeholder areas of interest and needs, and maximise the impact of our social performance. Findings from the SIAs undertaken on our sites are used to direct social performance and stakeholder engagement efforts at our other operations.
In order to maintain a broad understanding of emerging external social expectations and issues that relate to our business, we regularly engage with our host communities, investors, Indigenous stakeholders, governments and other relevant third parties.
We are active leaders and members in industry representative bodies, including:
- The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (Western Australia).
- The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Australia).
- The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (Western Australia).
- The Gold Industry Group (Australia).
- The Alaska Miners Association (Alaska, United States).
- The Council of Alaska Producers (Alaska, United States).
- The National Mining Association (United States).
Within the business we also engage with our workforce on matters of importance to them and their families through:
- Employee representation at the ESS Committee Meetings.
- Employee culture surveys.
- ESG Focus Groups held annually with diverse participation from all sites, ensuring we have a cross section of skills, roles, and tenure.
Northern Star’s Code of Conduct, Stakeholder Policy, Whistleblower Policy, Human Rights Policy and Equal Employment Opportunity Policy collectively describe the mechanisms for internal and external stakeholders to seek advice and raise concerns.
Our Stakeholder Policy sets out our commitments to local communities and other key stakeholders, including our commitment to providing for or cooperating in the remediation of negative impacts that the Company identifies it has caused or contributed to. External complaints, grievances and concerns are managed in accordance with our External Complaints Grievances and Concerns Procedure.
Our core corporate governance policies are available on our Corporate Governance page.
Northern Star recognises the traditional rights of Indigenous peoples, and their enduring right to maintain their cultures and customs, and meaningful access to their traditional lands. We acknowledge that Indigenous peoples are some of the most marginalised peoples around the world, enduring forms of social exclusion and are often under-represented in political decision-making processes. We consider Indigenous peoples to be key stakeholders and that to thrive as a business, we need to gain and maintain these enduring trust-based relationships.
This makes the engagement of Indigenous peoples critically important for Northern Star, to better understand Indigenous peoples' enduring and unique connections to their traditional lands and waters, and how we as a business impact that connection.
Northern Star commits to the 2013 ICMM Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining. Northern Star undertakes Cultural Awareness Training for all Manager level employees and above, as well as a making a Cultural Awareness E-Learning module available for all employees and contractors. This training is designed to complement site-specific Cultural Awareness Training facilitated by Traditional Owners across our Australian Operations, which is a site training requirement for our employees and contractors.
We commit to complying with all domestic, national, and international laws applicable to our relationships with Indigenous peoples. Our engagement with Indigenous peoples is aligned with the ICMM Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining, and our further commitment to uphold the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
This commitment includes the engagement of Indigenous peoples in relation to projects situated on their traditional lands. This allows us to understand any areas of concern, and factor that into our operational planning and priorities.
Northern Star continues to support reconciliation through adoption of our Human Rights Policy, making Cultural Awareness training accessible to all employees and contractors, and through social partnerships with not-for profit Indigenous organisations including Clontarf, MADALAH and Shooting Stars.
In Western Australia, our operations are either subject to a Native Title determination or are subject to a Native Title claim, under the Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth).
In the Northern Territory of Australia, the Central Tanami Project, in which we own a 50% joint venture interest, is located on freehold Indigenous land, under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (Northern Territory).
The Pogo mine in Alaska US is located wholly on State land.
Northern Star commits to agreement making processes with all Indigenous peoples whose land we operate on, and who hold relevant legal Indigenous land tenure as awarded by the relevant State, Territory or Federal government.
In Australia, this commitment extends to all Aboriginal first peoples who have either a determined or registered Native Title Claim under the Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth) or recognised freehold tenure under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (Northern Territory).
As part of our agreement making process, Northern Star aims to enter into land access and heritage protection agreements with Indigenous peoples on whose land we operate, to:
- Identify the process for engaging Indigenous Peoples on proposed activities.
- Seek their feedback on proposed activities.
- Reach agreement on what mining or exploration activities can occur on the land.
- Agree on how Northern Star will undertake those activities.
- Set parameters for benefits that will be delivered to the Indigenous peoples in return for the mining or exploration activities proceeding.
Northern Star upholds the FPIC principles within all negotiations, which are always conducted in good faith. Where parties consider existing or inherited agreements to be outdated and not in line with contemporary agreement conditions, Northern Star will consider entering into agreement modernisation discussions, and will align with the heritage protection legislation in Western Australia.
Northern Star understands that physical and spiritual cultural heritage is critically important to Indigenous peoples and provides a connection between their past and contemporary existence. Our overarching process for managing heritage risks:
- Northern Star’s cross-functional team consists of Legal, Social Performance, Environment, Geology and Mining who are responsible for working between project and production teams and Traditional Owners to understand where a planned activity may adversely impact a heritage site, in advance of the ground disturbance occurring.
- If this engagement process indicates that an area of heritage value may be adversely impacted, representatives of the team will further engage with the relevant Traditional Owners and the broader project team to evaluate means of avoiding the impact, acknowledging and incorporating the views of Traditional Owners.
- If the adverse impacts to the heritage site or area cannot be avoided, and the Traditional Owners do not consent to the activity proceeding, then Northern Star will not proceed with the activity in the manner proposed.
Northern Star strategically invests in our communities through financial and in-kind means. Our ties to our communities are strengthened by our employees, contractors and their families who live and work in our operating areas, and through our relationships with local governments, education bodies, NGOs and charities within these areas.
Northern Star has committed to several long-term community partnerships across Australia and Alaska, which will provide the regions and communities far reaching and long-term benefits for current and future generations.
Northern Star’s Donations and Sponsorship Guidelines and application form are designed to assist applicants in understanding our criteria for donations and sponsorships which is applied consistently across all operations.
Alignment with the UN SDGs is the primary gateway criteria for all donations and sponsorship applications at all operations, and where possible we seek to achieve a balance on an annual basis, taking into account the local and regional improvements proposed by applications in the following focus areas:
- Community & Inclusion
- Health & Wellness
- Indigenous Advancement
- Education & Development
Supporting our employees’ charitable fundraising initiatives is also a central part of our donations and sponsorship policy. Northern Star supports employee nominated causes or fundraising activities that are directly connected to a registered charity or approved community-based initiative through a donation matching program in line with Policy requirements. We are also proud to support our employees’ charity efforts with the offering of paid Volunteering Leave under the Company’s leave policy.
We are proud to be partners with the following organisations in Australia and Alaska: