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Indigenous Peoples & Mining
This position statement sets out ICMM members’ approach to engaging with Indigenous Peoples and to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). ICMM’s vision is for constructive relationships between mining and metals companies and indigenous peoples that are based on mutual respect, meaningful engagement, trust and mutual benefit.
The foundation of our approach is recognizing and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, which starts with acknowledging these rights and interests as enshrined in regional, national and international law. Negotiating formal agreements and consulting with Indigenous Peoples are core aspects of recognizing and respecting Indigenous rights.
Building on this foundation of recognizing and respecting Indigenous rights, Teck seeks to create strong, lasting relationships with Indigenous Peoples in the areas where we operate. Through engagement, we aim to share economic benefits including hiring, procurement or community investment, and ensure that we have effective channels of communication for ongoing dialogue.
Recognizing and Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 (ILO No. 169) and the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 7 provide guidance for government and private sector interaction with Indigenous Peoples. Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is an important societal process taking place around the world that involves governments, Indigenous communities, non-Indigenous communities and the business community. While UNDRIP and ILO No. 169 provide an important framework and guidance for reconciliation, every post-colonial nation with Indigenous populations has unique circumstances that require a unique path forward.
Agreements create a framework for greater cooperation and clarity on topics such as consultation and engagement, the environment and land stewardship, employment and business opportunities, and typically include a financial component. Our agreements with Indigenous Peoples traditionally address the full range of our activities, from early stages of exploration through to closure. Agreements can cover short-term, seasonal work as well as long-term operations and projects.
Our approach in negotiating agreements focuses on:
- Recognizing the importance of building trust, mutual respect, cooperation and open communication of interests and concerns
- Improving community well-being
- Working with Indigenous Peoples in innovative and collaborative ways
- Reducing business risk through effective consultation and other processes
- Increasing project and operational certainty
Although we recognize that agreements are important milestones, a strong and positive relationship is itself the true indicator of success.
Consultation plays an important role in our regulatory approval processes and project development, and helps to advance projects in a timely, cost-effective manner. As required by international conventions and typically by domestic law, many governments recognize various duties to consult with Indigenous Peoples. In certain situations, some or all aspects of consultation activities may be delegated to us. When our activities have the potential to affect Indigenous People’s rights or traditional access to land, we seek opportunities for meaningful consultation, including sharing information on our activities, understanding the interests of Indigenous Peoples and developing measures to address impacts on those interests.
Sharing Traditional Knowledge and Supporting Land Use Studies
For Indigenous communities, the landscape and its features provide sustenance and spiritual attachment. To minimize our impacts, Teck consults with Indigenous Peoples to promote mutual understanding and decision-making. At every stage of the mining life cycle, we support the integration of traditional knowledge and Indigenous perspectives into project planning, including, for example, through the development of traditional knowledge and land use studies to help us better understand the impacts of our activities on how Indigenous Peoples interact with the land around them.
Teck’s Indigenous Peoples Policy reaffirms our commitment to respect the rights, cultures, interests and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples. The policy was developed with input and guidance from Indigenous Peoples in our local communities, as well as with leading local and international groups with expertise in Indigenous and mining policy. Other policies that guide our approach to relationships with Indigenous Peoples include our Human Rights Policy, Inclusion and Diversity Policy and Expectations for Suppliers and Contractors.
Our work in this area is externally verified by an independent third-party every year. Learn more in our sustainability report.