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Human Rights

Gold Fields is committed to upholding and protecting the human rights of its stakeholders, particularly our people and members of our host communities. We recognise that our mining activities have the potential to impact the human rights of these important stakeholder groups.

Our Human Rights Policy Statement, which is embedded in our Code of Conduct, applies to all directors, employees and third parties, including suppliers and contractors.

The Code of Conduct can be found on our website at

Under the Human Rights Policy Statement, Gold Fields commits to, among others:

  • Not interfering with or curtailing others' enjoyment of their human rights
  • Defending, where possible, employees and external Gold Fields stakeholders, such as community members, against human rights abuses by third parties
  • Taking positive action to facilitate the entrenchment and enable the enjoyment of human rights and protecting the right to human dignity
  • Protecting the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought belief and opinion
  • Encouraging diversity and inclusiveness
  • Respecting cultural heritage of communities surrounding our mines

The Human Rights Policy Statement is informed by and supports various international standards. These include the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the conventions of the International Labour Organisation, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), and the ICMM Mining Principles and Position Statements.

A Human Rights Steering Committee oversees the work by the various disciplines and regions, and feedback is provided to the Board's Social, Ethics and Transformation (SET) Committee on a quarterly basis. A number of salient human rights issues have been identified by the Steering Committee. These issues have particularly the most severe negative impacts because of the Company's activities or business relationships and are the focus of work by our operational teams.

In December 2020, we launched our new e-learning human rights training to equip all Gold Fields employees with a sound understanding of human rights, how these rights affect our Company and stakeholders, as well as empower our people to uphold these rights. Also in 2020, we developed a human rights due diligence tool, which formalises identification and assessment of our actual and potential human rights impacts and aligns to our existing risk management process. Training and due diligence will be rolled out during 2021.

Gold Fields recognises that human rights are at risk from the impacts of Covid-19 and actively supported and continues to support its people, communities and government during the pandemic. Details of our programmes and interventions can be found on Developing a fit-for-purpose workforce and above.


Our Human Rights Policy Statement commits Gold Fields to protecting the rights of our workforce and upholding freedom from child labour, freedom from forced or compulsory labour, freedom from discrimination while recognising the need to affirm previously disadvantaged groups, and freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Internal grievance mechanisms are in place to ensure employees and contractors can raise human rights concerns. Grievances are handled by the Gold Fields HR function in consultation with legal teams. Employees can also raise concerns via independent counsellors as part of the Gold Fields Employee Assistance Programme, and make use of Gold Fields' confidential, third-party whistleblowing hotline. During the year, two grievances were raised by employees regarding harassment and sexual harassment, both of which were assessed internally, resulting in one dismissal.

Performance in 2020

  • Our Diversity Policy, approved by the Board in 2017, which outlines our commitment to equality and the zero tolerance approach we take to discrimination. In 2020, we developed a diversity and inclusion dashboard that allows tracking of our diversity progress
  • Approved an updated Harassment Policy
  • Code of Conduct training, first rolled out to all employees in 2017, was updated and employees received refresher training, including on human rights, during 2020
  • Undertook training on human rights at Cerro Corona and Salares Norte, with weekly talks by an independent specialist


Our host communities are one of Gold Fields' most important stakeholder groups and we seek to develop mutually beneficial relationships with them, based on shared respect and trust. More than any other stakeholders, our operations have the potential to adversely impact the rights, traditions and cultures of local communities. As such due diligence on human rights is critical.

Performance in 2020

  • We continued the roll-out of our revised artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) strategy at our Ghanaian operations to sensitise community members on the negative consequences of ASM and the regulatory penalties incurred when actively supporting illegal mining
  • No resettlement was undertaken at our operations in 2020
  • We reviewed our Indigenous Peoples and cultural heritage safeguards and risks. This is most critical in the Australia region. Details of our strategy and actions are detailed on value creation for stakeholders. In our other regions, our sites have identified all sensitive, sacred and other sites of significance to Indigenous People (Chile) and host communities (Ghana, Peru and South Africa) in proximity to our operations, and ensured that these sites are subject to adequate protection measures


Our suppliers are required to comply with the Group Code of Conduct, the Gold Fields Supplier Code of Conduct and our Human Rights Policy Statement as a standard provision in all third-party contractual agreements. An external third-party screening system evaluates new and existing suppliers and contractors on a monthly basis for an array of pre-defined risk categories, including human rights and related violations and/or transgressions.

Gold Fields is committed to responsible materials stewardship. In this context, we support global efforts to prevent the use of newly mined gold to finance conflict. We have voluntarily adopted the Conflict-Free Gold Standard of the World Gold Council (WGC). Although we withdrew our WGC membership in 2014, we have and will continue to apply both the standard and its guidelines. No infraction was incurred in 2020.

Further information is available at

Performance in 2020

  • In response to the 2018 implementation of the Modern Slavery Act in Australia, Gold Fields and a number of its formed the West Australian Modern Slavery Collaborative, focused on the promotion of human rights best practices and elimination of potential modern slavery practices in the energy and extractives sectors. Following the development of a supplier due diligence questionnaire focused on modern slavery risks, the Group is now focusing on sharing knowledge and learnings in the areas of supplier training and the remediation of identified slavery practices
  • Key suppliers to our Australian mines have been provided with a toolkit to identify possible human rights contraventions
  • Gold Fields commenced the drafting of its Modern Slavery Compliance Statement, which is due to be published and registered with the Australia Federal Government by the end of Q2 2021


Gold Fields' protection services teams work with both private and public security providers for the effective and responsible protection of our workers and assets. All private security contractors receive human rights training during the induction process, and at least annually thereafter, including on the VPSHR. Security is managed at regional level, because each region has its own specific context.

Performance in 2020

  • There were 33 illegal mining incidents at our Ghana operations, mostly minor in nature, which were resolved peacefully and without human rights violations in accordance with our ASM strategy
  • Presentations on the VPSHR were given to the police detachment and community consultative committees at our mines in Ghana
  • Implementation of the VPSHR continued in Ghana, South Africa and Peru and is in preparation at our Salares Norte project

Grievance mechanisms

We are committed to addressing community issues and concerns timeously and effectively. Therefore, we rely on an external grievance reporting system to maintain confidence and transparent communication with our stakeholders. Our grievance mechanism enables and encourages community members to freely put forward their complaints, while obligating our mines to address the grievances within an agreed period, before the grievance is escalated to independent mediation.

During 2020, 139 grievances were lodged at our operations (2019: 77). The increase in grievances was mainly due to restrictions enforced as a result of governments' Covid-19 regulations and their impact on economic incomes of community members. See above.

Safety training at South Deep, South Africa