Human rights

We recognise that our mining activities have the potential to adversely impact the human rights of our stakeholders – particularly our workforce and members of our host communities. Gold Fields is committed to upholding and respecting the human rights of these important stakeholder groups.

Our stakeholders are integral to our business and we are committed to upholding and respecting their human rights. Our mining activities, including exploration, corporate transactions, construction, operations and closure, have the potential to adversely impact our people and members of our host communities. We strive to understand, mitigate and manage our human rights impact in line with our leading commitment to ESG.
Our Human Rights Policy Statement, which forms an integral part of our Sustainable Development Framework and is embedded in our Code of Conduct, applies to all Gold Fields employees, directors, contractors and suppliers. Guided by this policy statement, our key human rights commitments are to:

  • Uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms
  • Undertake human rights due diligence assessments
  • Provide training and guidance for all relevant employees, including our security workforce
  • Raise awareness of human rights issues with our business partners and collaborate with them to address any concerns identified
  • Encourage diversity and inclusivity in our workplaces
  • Respect the human rights and interests, cultures and customs of communities surrounding our mining activities
  • Provide on-site grievance mechanisms for our people and communities
  • Work to raise awareness of human rights issues with our suppliers and collaborate with them to address identified concerns

The Human Rights Policy Statement is informed by and supports various international standards. These include the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the conventions of the International Labour Organization, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the VPSHR, the ICMM Mining Principles and Performance Expectations and the World Gold Council Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

Our Code of Conduct, which includes our Human Rights Policy Statement, can be found online.

Our ongoing human rights due diligence integrates a human rights perspective into our Company-wide risk management processes across the mining lifecycle. This includes internal and external audits, environmental and social impact assessments, internal control and assurance systems for policy compliance, host community relationship assessments and country risk assessments. Our sites apply a human rights due diligence tool focused on relevant issues, such as resettlement, artisanal and small-scale mining, Indigenous peoples and gender.

Our most recent due diligence assessments found that:

  • All operations have a low probability of adverse human rights impact on external stakeholders, and no operation was identified as having a high probability of adverse human rights impact
  • Procurement issues have a medium probability of adverse impact at most operations
  • Physical and psychological harm, as well as discrimination against women, have a high probability of adverse impact at most operations. This was confirmed by the findings of the culture diagnostic and independent Respectful Workplace survey conducted at our operations between 2021 and 2022

The Respectful Workplace survey conducted by EB&Co has shed light on broader issues surrounding respect and dignity for all our people, with a particular focus on women and other vulnerable groups in our workforce.
Management has taken time to reflect and apologise to those affected by instances of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Our commitment to addressing these issues remains steadfast, as we embark on implementing all 21 recommended mitigating actions outlined by EB&Co. We will share transparent progress reports with our people and the public.

Our internal grievance mechanisms provide a framework through which our people can voice human rights concerns. The Respectful Workplace review, however, has highlighted that these mechanisms are deficient and many employees have low levels of trust in them. The review makes comprehensive recommendations for disclosing and reporting incidents of harmful behaviour, which will be rolled out during 2024.

Read more about how Gold Fields is building a Respectful Workplace in our IAR.

We are committed to addressing community issues and concerns relating to our operations timeously and effectively, where possible. We rely on an external grievance reporting system to maintain confidence and transparent communication with our stakeholders. This mechanism enables and encourages community members to voice their complaints freely, while obligating our mines to address the grievances within an agreed period. Where our team is not able to resolve grievances, they are escalated to independent mediation.

During 2023, our operations dealt with 71 (2022: 92) grievances lodged by our communities, including 34 related to jobs and procurement, 19 to environmental-related issues and 12 to social- related issues. We resolved 92% of these grievances within the agreed timeframes. The grievances that took longer to resolve mostly concerned our contractors and suppliers.
Additionally, we conduct independent, standalone human rights impact assessments, addressing areas such as tailings storage facilities and workplace safety. Stakeholder engagement underpins these processes, providing valuable insights into stakeholders’ concerns.

All business partners in the supply chain are screened monthly according to predefined risk metrics, including human rights. An interactive third-party due diligence gateway enables our procurement teams to identify risks and collaborate with business partners to address identified concerns. If the risk cannot be mitigated, Gold Fields refrains from entering into a business relationship.

Our human rights approach includes modern slavery compliance in Australia. While Gold Fields is not aware of any modern slavery practices in the business, we recognise that given the scale of our operations and the global reach of our supply chain, there is a risk that these practices are occurring.

We are comfortable that the geographic location of our operations and our rigorous employment practices ensure a minimal risk of modern slavery practices, particularly concerning forced labour, within our Australian business.

Read more on Australia’s work to understand modern slavery risk in Tier 1 suppliers

We identified 11 salient human rights issues that may be adversely impacted by our business activities. Our operational teams focus on mitigating these, and the table below outlines our approach and performance during the year. In determining these salient issues, we recognise our workers and contractors – particularly female and minority workers – and our host communities – particularly women, children, resettled communities and Indigenous peoples – as our most vulnerable stakeholders.

Gold Fields’ salient human rights issues Related SDGs Our approach 2023 performance

Health and safety
Occupational incident or exposure leading to physical and/or psychological harm

We aim to strike a balance between robust, user-friendly and fit- for-purpose management systems, strong leadership, and encouraging our people to make safe choices every day.

  • Reported two fatalities and six serious injuries, with seven of our operations experiencing no serious injuries
  • Increased the Group’s safety engagement rate by 8%
  • Improved transparency in our reporting processes
  • Provided training related to Courageous Safety Leadership for 4,251 of our people
  • Reported 29 occupational diseases, up from 27 in 2022
  • Undertook psychosocial hazard risk assessments in Australia

Human resources
Impact on people

We are committed to fostering a workplace that upholds fair treatment, as guided by legislation in the countries in which we operate and the principles of the International Labour
Organization. We vehemently oppose human trafficking, slavery, forced labour and the employment of children. Embracing principles of freedom of association and collective bargaining, we have established site-level grievance mechanisms to ensure transparency and address concerns within our workforce.

  • Achieved 25% female diversity (exceeding our target of 24%) and ethnic diversity of 79% HDSAs in South Africa and 3.3% Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders in Australia
  • Continued including gender diversity in our long-term incentive scheme
  • Adopted policies related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and a respectful workplace
  • Updated policies related to talent management and learning and development
  • Initiated a review of the Gold Fields’ operating model
  • Launched the Gold Fields Way change programme
  • Published the Respectful Workplace review findings
  • Committed to adopting EB&Co’s recommendations

Loss of water containment

Access to water is a fundamental human right and a vital resource for Gold Fields’ operations. To maintain our social licence to operate, we manage our impacts on water catchment areas by ensuring we do not denude the quality or reduce the volume of water in areas surrounding our mines.

  • Recycled or reused 74% of total water used
  • Reduced freshwater withdrawal by 39% from 2018 baseline
  • Updated the Group Water Stewardship Strategy, supported by regional water strategies and three-year water tactical plans
  • Conducted a catchment study in Ghana, along with detailed action plans

Mine closure
Impact on stakeholders of mine closure

We integrate mining closure into our business activities to reduce our environmental and social impacts, optimise our liabilities and, where possible, enhance asset values.

  • Maintained updated mine closure plans at all operations
  • Reviewed and updated 2023 Group closure cost estimates at all operations
  • Implementing progressive rehabilitation plans across Group sites
  • Completed a gap analysis at Damang to identify the work required to develop a detailed closure plan

Environmental impacts

Gold Fields is committed to manage tailings responsibly throughout the life of an operation – from initial feasibility through to post-closure – in line with regulatory requirements. Our sites comply with the Group’s TSF Management Policy and Tailings Management Standard. The Independent Geotechnical and Tailings Review Board annually reviews our two TSFs in Peru and Ghana, which have “extreme” or “very high” GISTM consequence ratings. Independent parties conduct external audits on our active TSFs every three years, and we aim to conduct annual emergency response simulations and training at all our operations.

  • Appointed a third party to conduct a human rights due diligence and environmental, social and economic impact study of South Deep’s four decommissioned TSFs and one active TSF
  • Commissioned an independent evaluation to assess the human rights associated with communities downstream of Tarkwa and Damang’s TSF


For more detail, refer to our GISTM annual disclosure reports at

Human rights breach by supplier

Gold Fields performs monthly due diligence on active suppliers, employing screening protocols that cover adverse media, international prohibition listings and various risk criteria (corruption, fraud, environmental, human rights, product, supply, financial, etc.). Our proactive approach involves engaging with suppliers, where assessed and determined as appropriate, to address identified material human rights risks of concern within the scope of professional business relationships.

  • Screened 8,246 suppliers – all the active vendors registered on our supplier platform as at end-2023
  • Identified 1,187 potential alerts (14% of all screened suppliers), of which 177 were confirmed and further risks analysis undertaken (2% of all screened suppliers and 15% of potential alerts). Human rights issues or transgressions, covered in adverse media, represented less that 0.1% of all confirmed alerts, subject to further analysis



  • Partnered with independent consultants to develop modern slavery self-assessments, which we will use to engage with suppliers and better understand and mitigate industry-specific risks relating to abusive labour practices

Land acquisition and economic compensation and resettlement

Gold Fields commits to avoiding the involuntary physical or economic displacement of communities and ensuring any resettlement restores or improves livelihoods and standards of living of displaced people. We ensure all projects and operations adhere to best practice for any land acquisition, economic compensation and resettlement activities. Our approach aligns with the International Finance Corporation’s basic principles for addressing the adverse effects of involuntary resettlement, as well as relevant legislation in the countries where we operate.

  • Undertook no physical displacement, resettlement or farm compensations during the year

Transportation incidents involving hazardous substances, and/or people

Gold Fields follows a rigorous bus transportation selection process and applies strict standards, including inspection and maintenance. We continually seek to implement new technology to protect our employees against transport accidents. Our operations in Chile and Peru – which are more than 3,500m and 4,500m above sea level – include additional measures, such as the mandatory use of satellite GPS, fatigue and drowsiness monitoring, vetting of transport providers, and checkpoints.

We prioritise safety in team travel and only use reputable and accredited airline companies. When chartered flights are necessary, we ensure companies are accredited by civil aviation authorities.

All our mines comply with relevant transportation standards, and the transportation of hazardous materials is included in critical control management. We also developed a Transportation Standard for Explosives and Oxidising Agents. Salares Norte has a professional hazardous materials brigade permanently on site, reinforced by Gold Fields volunteers.

  • Recorded no injuries to our people from transportation incidents
  • Reported 13 incidents with minor material damage and one serious potential incident from transporting hazardous materials
  • Decreased traffic incidents at Cerro Corona by 58%
  • Concluded new agreements for flights to St Ives in Australia to reduce travel time and exposure to risk
  • Installed monitoring equipment in South Deep’s buses to identify driver fatigue and erratic driving patterns
  • Updated internal traffic regulations in Peru

Public security
Abuse of power by public and private security

Gold Fields’ protection services teams work with private and public security providers to effectively and responsibly protect our employees and assets. We align our operations with the VPSHR, and all private security contractors receive appropriate training during their induction process, and at least annually thereafter.

Our Australian operations do not use public security services – instead, the security function is fulfilled by suitably qualified
Gold Fields employees.

  • Provided comprehensive VPSHR training to 114 security personnel at
    South Deep and 1,490 police officers and private security providers
    in Ghana, while 834 police officers and private security providers in
    Peru received human rights-related training

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)
Illegal mining

Artisanal and small-scale miners form part of our host communities in Ghana, and we aim to engage with them respectfully and transparently. 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 VPSHR, for which the police and our community patrols undergo regular training. We 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. We also support the Ghanaian government in its National Alternative Livelihood and Community Mining programmes, which focus on ASM – a sector regulated by the Minerals Commission.


  • Reported 49 intrusions of illegal miners at Damang and 17 at Tarkwa – which also experienced a resurgence of encroachment at the mine’s closed and sealed Mantraim Shaft
  • Collaborated with the police (who are trained in VPSHR) to evict illegal miners from the Brahabebom community
  • Continued to engage with the national and local government and other regulators to identify solutions for the recurring encroachment of the decommissioned Mantraim shaft at Tarkwa
  • Prioritised employing youth from the host community and skills support programmes
  • Provided start-up kits to trainees who passed the National Vocational Training Institute’s certification examination

Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage

Indigenous peoples form part of our host communities in Australia and Chile. Gold Fields respects the rights, interests, culture, perspectives and special connections to land and water of host communities – including Indigenous peoples – in our project design, development, operation and closure phases, and work to obtain their free, prior and informed consent where projects under customary use by Indigenous peoples are likely to have significant adverse impacts. We engage with Indigenous peoples in a way that is always culturally appropriate and ensure their participation in decisions that could impact them.


  • Continued to engage and build trust with all traditional owner groups on key issues including Native Title and cultural heritage
  • Delivered cultural awareness training to 197 employees
  • Continued to implement the region’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which aims to develop and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, engage staff and stakeholders in reconciliation, and develop and pilot innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal peoples
  • Focused on recruiting, employing and retaining Indigenous Peoples


  • Provided training to members of the Colla Indigenous and Diego de Almagro communities
  • Continued to promote cultural heritage
  • Created socio-economic development opportunities for Colla communities
  • Received nine grievances during 2023, all of which were resolved within the agreed timeframes