Human Rights

We are committed to respecting human rights. Our Human Rights Policy requires us (and our contractors) to conduct business in a manner consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to align our human rights due diligence practices with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles).

Our site-specific human rights programs are consistent with our corporate Human Rights Policy, in-country laws and regulations, and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (Voluntary Principles). Our human rights compliance officers oversee compliance and training, as well as grievance mechanisms for reporting, documenting and following up on human rights allegations that are reported in our areas of operation. We promote human rights awareness through outreach and the provision of training to our employees, contractors and local communities, and we protect anyone who reports suspected violations.

In 2015, we continued to integrate the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework and the supporting Guiding Principles into our business. This included coordination between corporate resources and operational teams to review site sustainable development risk registers from a human rights perspective and to identify related risks, beyond traditional security matters. We worked with a third party to complete a site-level human rights impact assessment (HRIA) at our TFM operation in the DRC. TFM was prioritized for a site-level assessment on the basis that it was identified as our highest ranking site for both potential and actual impacts in the corporate-level HRIA completed in 2014.

Our multi-sector industry dialogue on human rights training and due diligence practices continued through the Business for Social Responsibility human rights working group and Sustainability 50, an executive-level peer to peer sharing forum. In addition, our team regularly engages with socially responsible investors and downstream members of our value chain to discuss and receive feedback and ideas on issues ranging from illegal artisanal mining to our public human rights reporting efforts.

TFM Human Rights Impact Assessment The TFM HRIA built upon the methodology developed for the corporate HRIA, but included extensive local stakeholder engagement. The exercise involved the engagement of more than 70 stakeholders in and around TFM, and in the broader southeastern DRC, representing employees (such as managers, workers and trade union representatives), the community (such as women’s representatives, farmers, traditional leaders and doctors) and third parties (such as public and private security providers, public officials and NGOs).

This reflected the need to:

  • Build on the corporate HRIA to ensure less ‘visible’ risks and impacts were captured (e.g. where rights holders were unable or unwilling to utilize TFM’s established grievance mechanisms or to raise issues with third parties) 
  • Gain insight into broader human rights dynamics that may affect local people but not to a degree that any one individual or group has been compelled to raise a specific complaint about it
  • Understand the specific impacts associated with identifiable vulnerable groups, such as women, children, minority groups and subsistence farmers

Other notable enhancements to the TFM HRIA methodology included, for example:

  • The explicit inclusion of broader human rights dynamics into the scoring structure (i.e. in addition to concrete, definable human rights ‘events’)
  • Direct input from rights holders as a result of extensive on-site engagement, as well as first-hand assessment of potential and actual impacts through site inspection
  • The application of more defined weightings to the assessment of potential impacts, including those relating to ‘localization’ (i.e. to reflect actual, local conditions) and ‘management proficiency’ (i.e. to reflect the quality / effectiveness of TFM’s relevant management systems / actions)

Examples of stakeholder categories engaged under the TFM HRIA

The TFM HRIA applied the ‘but for’ test, asking whether the impact would have taken place in the absence of TFM, and whether the impact would have been as severe in the absence of TFM. Alleged impacts were included even if there was uncertainty as to the facts behind them and/or the causative relationship to TFM. Allegations were not included if they were clearly duplicates or if there was definitive proof to establish that the relevant facts were incorrect or that there was no causative relationship to TFM. As part of this process, significant opportunities were identified for TFM to address incorrect assumptions amongst rights holders regarding the negative impacts of the mine. This included an opportunity to address the fact that some alleged negative impacts actually related to a lack of desired positive impact and so were outside the scope of the exercise.

The high severity and high volume/low severity impacts identified by the TFM HRIA included the following:

Employees (including supply chain)

  • Higher severity criminal attacks against TFM personnel, including by illegal artisanal miners
  • Higher severity health and safety impacts reflecting the latent risks associated with mining
  • A relatively high volume of low severity impacts reflecting ‘normal’ workplace human resource issues
  • Possible worker-related impacts in the operation’s supply and logistics chain relating to working conditions and health and safety


  • A large volume of lower severity impacts linked to property damage and resettlement. This reflects impacts on local agricultural land, as well as resettlement activity (current and historic). In addition to the underlying causes, the volume of identified impacts reflect: (a) TFM’s mature community grievance mechanisms and resettlement compensation framework; and (b) the monetized nature of the claims, which may encourage affected individuals to file formal grievances
  • A smaller number of higher severity impacts relating to community health and safety, with a specific focus on traffic/vehicle incidents


  • Higher-severity impacts including incidents associated with illegal artisanal miners and the conduct of the police that resulted in fatalities and/or serious injury. Findings reflect the very poor health and safety conditions in which illegal artisanal miners operate, as well as violent interactions between the police, illegal artisanal miners and civilians


  • A small number of impacts, including certain cases relating to emissions to air or water were rated as being of moderate severity. This reflects the fact that emissions of this nature can have the potential to impact a relatively significant number of people rather than the identification of material harm to individuals

The most serious impacts were associated with illegal artisanal mining and the conduct of host government security, and were already recognized by the TFM management team. Unfortunately, limited scope exists for TFM to make significant further improvements to its management of human rights issues associated with these issues.  This, in part, reflects the extensive management measures TFM already has in place, as well as the involvement of independent external parties. Nonetheless, TFM is committed to continuing its engagement with government, industry participants and other stakeholders on these complex issues.

The HRIA results confirmed that TFM’s mature workforce grievance mechanism was effective in identifying employee-related impacts, and that its community grievance management system was largely effective in capturing community-related impacts. It also suggested that TFM’s ISO 14001 environmental management system and OHSAS 18001 health and safety management system was relatively effective in helping minimize related human rights impacts.

Action plans for the potential and actual impacts described above are embedded and tracked within TFM’s sustainable development risk register process. These plans were developed to support continuous improvement of existing systems and processes, and establish new measures to investigate, avoid, mitigate and/or remedy identified human rights impacts.

During the TFM HRIA, we carried out a parallel exercise to identify the degree to which TFM positively maintains and advances human rights in its concession. While understanding that positive human rights impacts cannot offset negative impacts, this exercise resulted in a more comprehensive view of our overall human rights performance. It showed that TFM’s greatest positive impacts on human rights were within the local communities and amongst its employees. This reflected, for example, TFM’s extensive social investment and community partnership programs, its significant economic impact on the local area and its mature human resource and occupational health and safety management systems. (Please see Communities for more information on positive impacts).

We conducted international-level stakeholder meetings aimed at verifying the TFM HRIA methodology and reviewing the findings of the assessment. Approximately 20 entities, representing academia, investors, business partners and the NGO community, participated in these meetings. The feedback received from these stakeholders was summarized and shared with participants following the meetings. Lessons learned from the TFM HRIA will further shape our global human rights strategy. We are developing a work plan to roll out the site-level HRIA framework to other higher-risk sites over time.

For more information, please see Artisanal Mining, Environment and TFM Community Resettlement.