Sustainability Communities


Our host communities are a key Gold Fields stakeholder group, as their support underpins our social licence to operate which, in turn, impacts our ability to create enduring value. Our Group Community Policy Statement sets out our commitment to developing mutually beneficial relationships with our host communities, host governments and other key stakeholders through meaningful and transparent engagement. We aim to keep improving our social performance, strengthening our social licence to operate and delivering enduring value in collaboration with our host communities and governments.

Host communities refer to the people who live in the vicinity of our operations and who have been or could be directly affected by our exploration, construction, operational or divestment activities. Each Group operation identifies its host communities to secure its legal and social licences to operate. In total, an estimated 500,000 people live in approximately 60 communities surrounding our eight mines (excluding Asanko).

Our Group Community and Government Charter promotes an approach underpinned by building strong relationships and trust, creating and sharing enduring value, measuring our actions and impacts, and delivering against our promises. In accordance with the Charter's commitments and our vision and purpose statements, our regions successfully implemented their annually updated government and community action plans in 2022.

In 2016, Gold Fields started implementing a strategy aimed at enhancing host community value creation. At that point, we ranked losing our social licence to operate as the Group's fifth-highest risk. This risk has decreased due to the successful implementation of our targeted Host Community Value Creation Strategy (including host community procurement, job creation and SED) and other social performance and environmental management strategies.

Our community relations programmes depend on ongoing stakeholder engagement and community grievance management. All our operations have stakeholder engagement plans, as well as established grievance mechanisms, that enable us to address and resolve grievances that arise from our activities. See our 2022 grievance report on p71.

We regularly conduct independent assessments to measure the quality of our relationships and understand the expectations of key stakeholders, including communities and governments. We use these assessments to inform stakeholder engagement plans that help us to build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with these stakeholders. Over the years, we have seen a mostly positive upward trend in relationships with host communities around our operations. We will re-assess the strength of our stakeholder relationships in 2024.

Gold Fields uses social return on investment (SROI) surveys to identify SED investments that strengthen our social licence to operate. In 2022, Peru undertook a SROI analysis on selected projects, showing that its projects offer a positive return.

Our focus in 2023 will be preparing to report against the core indicators of the ICMM's new social and economic reporting framework.

Creating enduring value for our host communities

The recent global economic slowdown exacerbated economic hardships in our host communities, particularly in Peru, Ghana and South Africa. Many of these communities expect our mines to assist in alleviating their burdens by providing financial or other assistance.

We believe the greatest benefit we can provide is to empower our host communities to build the long-term social, economic and environmental resilience they require. We aim to maximise the positive socio-economic benefits of mining on our host communities while, as far as possible, avoiding or minimising adverse impacts.

We therefore continue entrenching our host community procurement and job creation programmes, as we believe this will support their economic development while also meeting the needs of our business.

Furthermore, we framed and conceptualised a pipeline of legacy programmes for implementation from 2023 to 2030. These focus on creating enduring value by addressing our host communities' most pressing development needs, while ensuring economic value creation beyond the life-of-mine and outside the mine's supply chain. The programmes seek to promote:

These legacy programmes build on Gold Fields' 2030 ESG target to generate measurable and wide-reaching outcomes that contribute to the delivery of the UN SDGs.

Measuring community value creation

We continually enhance our understanding of the value we create for our host communities by measuring the impact of our SED investments, host community employment and host community procurement programmes. For the past seven years, we created between US$600m and US$900m in community value every year. This amounts to over US$5.3bn, which is a sustained and significant investment in the economic wellbeing of our host communities. Based on our analysis, 27% (US$913m) of the US$3.92bn in value the Group distributed in 2022 remained with our host communities, as shown below.

We have incentivised our management teams with ESG targets since 2017, which has included host community value creation. Following the launch of the Group's comprehensive 2030 ESG targets in 2021, a larger portion of incentives is allocated to ESG-related goals. Our 2030 target is to spend 30% of the total value spent in host communities. In 2022, the value we transferred to our host communities increased, although our national value contribution decreased slightly as we paid more to governments in the form of taxes and royalties.

The diagram below details the community-focused levers available to us:





Host community suppliers companies


Host community jobs
in the mine value chain, comprising:








Non-mining jobs

1In Ghana

Host community procurement

We are guided by our Host Community Procurement Strategy to seek opportunities for community-based enterprises to participate in our supply chains. If implemented effectively, host community procurement holds benefits for the communities in which we operate as well as our mines.

In 2022, our total procurement spend amounted to US$2.30bn, 97% of which was spent on businesses based in the countries where we operate

(2021: US$2.32bn/96%). We spent US$747m (31%) of our total procurement spend on suppliers and contractors from our host communities (2021: US$709m/31%). Our Salares Norte project, in construction since 2021, actively pursued procurement of goods and services from its host communities totalling approximately US$39m in 2022.

(2021: US$2.32bn/96%). We spent US$747m (31%) of our total procurement spend on suppliers and contractors from our host communities (2021: US$709m/31%). Our Salares Norte project, in construction since 2021, actively pursued procurement of goods and services from its host communities totalling approximately US$39m in 2022.

Supporting SMEs is therefore critical as we work towards ensuring 30% of the total value we create is within our host communities. In 2022, we introduced preferential payment terms for SMEs in host communities, particularly those led by minority and disadvantaged groups. Payment terms have been reduced from 30 days to 14 days (from date of ratified invoice) for host community SMEs. The improved terms address the cash-flow difficulties often experienced by SME suppliers and service providers.

The table below outlines the in-country and host community value creation progress between 2021 and 2022:

Local (in-country) and host community procurement

  Local (in-country)
Local (in-country) spend
(% of total)
Host community
Host community spend
(% of total)
Country  2022 
2022  2021  2022 
2022  2021 
Australia  1,085  1,035  99%  99%  284  253  27%  25% 
South Africa  268  221  100%  100%  53  51  20%  23% 
Ghana  840  766  94%  91%  379  371  42%  45% 
Peru  226  209  94%  96%  31  34  13%  15% 
Group  2,419  2,231  97%  96%  747  709  31%  31% 

Host community employment

We continue to prioritise employing host community members at our operations and encourage our contractors and suppliers to do the same. This is supported by training, education and skills development initiatives to improve the local skills base.

At the end of the year, 52% of our workforce – or 9,473 people – were employed from our host communities (2021: 54%/9,330 people). Maintaining our 2021 host community performance was a challenge during 2022 amid the adverse global economic conditions. In Western Australia, the demand for labour resulted in a historically low underemployment rate (3.5%) and stiff competition for labour. The table below provides further details.

We hope to maintain and, in the longer term, increase current levels of host community employment. These jobs have significant multiplier effects, particularly in developing countries, and are critical for the estimated 500,000 residents of our host communities.

Beyond creating employment opportunities at our mines or with our contractors – where we have limited scope to create jobs – we also seek to create non-mining jobs, particularly linked to SED projects, legacy programmes and the wider supply chain.

Non-mining jobs can continue to provide benefits to host communities during and beyond the lives of our operations.

We continued our efforts to ensure our SED projects – focusing on agriculture, infrastructure development, education and skills support and economic diversification – also grow and sustain non-mining jobs. During the year, we created 794 non-mining jobs for host community members, the majority of which were in the agricultural sector (2021: 759). Due to their inherent nature, many of our SED projects do not necessarily provide long-term solutions but do create income and a measure of skills transfer.

National and host community workforce employment
% of employees – national Host community
% of workforce – host
Country 2022 2022 2021 2022 2022 2021
Australasia2 3,677 77% 77% 610 18% 18%
South Africa 4,880 87% 86% 3,097 63% 66%
Ghana 7,035 99% 99% 5,009 71% 70%
Americas 7,359 98% 98% 757 26% 30%
Group3 23,084 87% 87% 9,473 52% 54%
1 Workforce comprises employees and contractors and includes corporate and regional offices, as well as our projects
2 Host community employment data excludes our corporate and regional offices, as well as our projects
3 Includes Chile, corporate and regional office employees

The following projects created significant jobs during 2022:

Investments in socio-economic development

We invested US$21m in SED projects in our host communities during 2022 (2021: US$16.3m). Our mines have dedicated SED investment funds delivered directly or through our foundation and independent trusts. Our mines also collaborate with host governments, development organisations and NGOs to deliver these programmes

Significant projects we implemented during the year include:

Group SED spend (US$m)1

2022 2021 2020
21.2 16.6 17.2

Group SED by type (2022)2
Infrastructure 8.6
Education and training 8.6
Health and wellbeing 1.0
Economic diversification 5.9
Conservation and environment 0.5
Charitable giving 1.9
Total 21.2
1 Spend slowed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19
2 Excludes spending by Salares Norte

Potential environmental impacts

Our mining activities can potentially result in adverse impacts on our communities, such as:

Our commitment to ESG and 2030 ESG targets in areas such as water (p74), tailings (p78) and climate change (p77) seeks to ensure we meet our commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources and the environment. This includes our responsibility to comply with regulatory requirements, obligations relating to rules, codes and standards to which we subscribe, including the International Cyanide Management Code.

Through our Group policy statements and guidelines, as well as our ISO 14001:2015 certified environmental management systems at each operation, we have processes in place to identify and assess potential risks and impacts, implement mitigation and management measures, and apply monitoring and evaluation programmes to avoid and, where we cannot prevent, manage potential environmental impacts on our host communities.

Artisanal, small-scale and illegal mining in Ghana

The Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Prestea-Huni Valley municipalities, which host our Tarkwa and Damang mines, are major centres for legal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), as well as illegal small-scale mining activities (known as galamsey). During 2022, we had 24 and seven illegal mining incursions at Damang and Tarkwa respectively, which occurred mostly on waste dumps and inactive satellite pits.

There has been reoccurring encroachment by illegal miners on Tarkwa's Mantraim shaft. The police evicted the miners, and multi-stakeholder negotiations are ongoing to prevent the continued invasion of the shaft.

Illegal mining is concerning for several reasons. Individuals could potentially be injured, local unrest could erupt and our reputation could be damaged, besides the loss of surface-rich ore, potential damage to mine property and assets, and mercury and cyanide contamination of our water resources.

Our strategy to address illegal mining focuses on consistent engagement with and sensitisation of community members and other stakeholders, as well as regular security patrols to demonstrate zero tolerance of illegal mining on our concessions. Any arrests and prosecutions of illegal miners by local police are undertaken in strict adherence to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), for which the police and our community patrols undergo regular training.

We understand illegal mining provides income to communities where unemployment and poverty are rife. For this reason, our strategy is to create alternative jobs through community development and alternative livelihoods and graduate trainee programmes, which focus on employing young people in our host communities who might otherwise be forced into illegal mining. Our main project in this respect is the YouHoP programme which, to date, has generated jobs for 662 host community members.

Gold Fields also supports the government in its National Alternative Livelihood and Community Mining programmes, which focus on ASM– a sector that is regulated by the Minerals Commission. In 2021, the Damang mine concluded the ceding of 1,340ha of land to the Minerals Commission for community mining. The Company also provided geological information and submitted digital cadastral maps. ASM miners are currently working on the site. The Company has been under pressure to make more land available for official community mining projects.

Working with Indigenous communities in Australia

As a company operating in Australia, on the traditional lands of Aboriginal peoples, we have a responsibility to develop understanding and respect for the many diverse cultures and experiences of not only these traditional owners, but also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples more broadly.

Our Aboriginal Engagement Strategy is built on three strategic pillars:

These strategic pillars are aligned with the key elements of our Reconciliation Action Plan, which is discussed below.

Each of Gold Fields' Australian mines is situated on lands that either have a Native Title determination or an active claim. The table below describes the current claims and determinations:

Site Native Title Group
Agnew (north) Determined Native Title claim Tjiwarl People
Agnew (south) Currently no claim or determination
Agnew (far south) Determined Native Title claim Darlot People
Granny Smith Entire operation: Registered Native Title claim Nyalpa Pirniku People
Gruyere Entire operation: Determined Native Title claim Yilka People and Sullivan Edwards families
St Ives Main area of operations: Determined Native Title claim
Remaining area (exploration): Registered Native Title claims
Determined: Ngadju People
Claim: Marlinyu Ghoorlie People
Claim: Kakarra People

The Native Title Act of 1993 details the process for traditional owners who claim traditional rights and interests on certain land, to have those rights recognised by the Federal Court of Australia in the form of a Native Title determination.

Gold Fields is required to engage with registered Native Title claimants and determined Native Title holders in relation to its activities, including before new tenements are granted. Depending on the type of activity, this may require us to enter agreements. While these agreements historically focused on ensuring the proper identification and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage, and to provide a process for the conduct of cultural heritage surveys, these agreements are now more comprehensive in nature.

A key element of our Aboriginal Engagement Strategy is our commitment to agreement-making with determined Native Title holders. These agreements can help foster strong and transparent relationships by establishing structured channels of communication; providing commitments and identifying initiatives to achieve greater education, employment and contracting outcomes; allocating funding for community programmes; building cultural competency through training and awareness; and incorporating best practice environmental and cultural heritage management practices. In addition, these agreements can provide financial benefits to Native Title parties that could settle any liability for Native Title compensation that Gold Fields may have.

At our Gruyere mine, Gold Fields is party to a comprehensive agreement with the determined Native Title holders for the area: the Yilka People and Sullivan Edwards families. Through this agreement, we explore ways to sustain and grow employment and business opportunities, as well as supporting health, education and other programmes for the Group, including the nearby Cosmo Newberry community. We also actively support and promote the Group's conservation and land management activities, including the Yilka Ranger programme.

We will look to negotiate and enter into similar comprehensive agreements at our other operations in Australia, as the Native Title landscape becomes progressively more settled across the region.

In 2018, we partnered with Reconciliation Australia (an independent, not-for-profit organisation) to embark on its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) programme – a strategic framework to assist organisations to take meaningful action to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Based around the core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, this supports our desire for First Nations peoples to participate equally in our workforce and business, feel culturally safe and empowered to deliver sustainable solutions for their communities.

Gold Fields formally launched its Reflect RAP in early 2020, focused on building and strengthening relationships, raising awareness of the process and the broader reconciliation effort. It also gave us an understanding of the barriers to progress in areas, such as employment and procurement. It informed our second (Innovate) RAP, which we launched in 2022 to implement key programmes – supporting education, training and employment, procurement, cultural competency and heritage management, as well as community development.

Our Innovate RAP is a blueprint for how we want to achieve long-term, sustainable outcomes. To support its implementation, Gold Fields has to date:

Key actions in our Innovate RAP include:

We already support a range of activities and programmes that directly benefit our Aboriginal communities, including through our partnerships with organisations such as Shooting Stars (which supports the education and empowerment of young Aboriginal girls and women), and Teach Learn Grow, which also supports educational outcomes for remote communities.

We continue to demonstrate good progress in employing Indigenous Australians and engaging Indigenous-owned businesses. In 2022, the number of Indigenous Australians employed increased to over 3.4%, reflecting the overall population of Indigenous Australians within Australia. A$3.5m (US$2.7m) was spent on 25 Indigenous businesses across our sites in 2022.

Cultural heritage protection


In response to the findings from the parliamentary inquiry into the Juukan Gorge incident in 2020, the Western Australian government passed the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) Act in December 2021. While limited parts of the legislation are currently operational, the government intends for the ACH Act to substantively commence in mid-2023, subject to finalising the associated regulations and guidance materials.

The key implications of the new Act for Gold Fields are:

Gold Fields supports this approach, which aligns with its commitment to consultation and agreement-making with traditional owners.

While Gold Fields anticipates that some amendment of the existing control framework (set by our Regional Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Standard and implemented through our site-based Cultural Heritage Management Plans) will be required to address some of the new requirements of the legislation, this framework addresses the core due diligence obligations that will remain in place. These controls include existing protocols for the recording, impact assessment and protection of identified Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, through our ground disturbance permitting process.


While no Indigenous Peoples have a relationship with our Salares Norte project site, as confirmed through the project's environmental approval process, we have engaged with the Colla Indigenous communities located some 70km from the project since 2015. We signed social development agreements with the key Colla communities and hold regular meetings to present our progress against our project plan, updates on the Chinchilla rescue and relocation programme, identify and address any concerns as well as cocreate development opportunities.

Stakeholder related reports