Creating enduring value beyond mining

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 Human Rights Policy Statement, which is embedded in our Code of Conduct, applies to everyone working for Gold Fields, including directors, contractors and suppliers.

The Code of Conduct can be found on our website at

The Human Rights Policy Statement commits Gold Fields to, among other things:

  • Uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms
  • Encourage diversity and inclusivity in our workplaces
  • Provide training and guidance for all relevant staff, including security staff and contractors
  • Undertake human rights due diligence
  • Provide site-level grievance mechanisms for our workforce and communities
  • Raise awareness of human rights with our vendors 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 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 provides feedback to the Board's SET Committee on a quarterly basis. The committee identified several salient human rights issues, which have the potential to have 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 2021, we rolled out our new e-learning human rights training to equip all Gold Fields employees with a sound understanding of human rights and how they affect our Company and stakeholders. The training also empowered our people to uphold these rights. We completed a human rights due diligence assessment at all our sites and projects. This formalised the identification and assessment of our actual and potential human rights impacts and aligns with our existing risk management process.

Below are some of the key findings from the assessment:

  • All operations have a low probability of adverse human rights impact and no issues with a high probability of adverse human rights impact were identified
  • Health and safety, procurement and gender are medium probability issues across most operations, and mitigation plans are in place for these issues
  • We need to remain vigilant with regards to respect for human rights – learning the lessons from the Juukan Gorge incident

Gold Fields recognises that Covid-19 may place human rights at risk. Accordingly, the Group actively supported – and continues to support – its people, communities and government during the pandemic. Details of our programmes and interventions can be found on Host communities and Working with indigenous Communities in Australia.


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.

Apart from community grievance processes, we have internal grievance mechanisms 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. A confidential third-party whistleblowing hotline is in place for stakeholders.

Performance in 2021

  • Our updated Diversity Policy, approved by the Board in 2020, details our commitment to equality and the zero-tolerance approach we take to discrimination
  • In 2021, we set a 2030 diversity target of 30% female representation; we continue to drive additional diversity and inclusion indicators and report this via a dashboard
  • We updated approved policies to support diversity and inclusion, consider job recruitment and selection, and disciplinary and grievance issues
  • Approved a policy on managing long-term illnesses stemming from Covid-19
  • Our Australia region conducted a sexual harassment assessment and, in 2022, we will conduct an independent review across the Group to identify additional measures needed to create environments of safety, inclusion and respect. See fit-for-purpose workforce for further information about gender safety in Australia


Our host communities are one of Gold Fields' most important stakeholder groups. We seek to develop mutually beneficial relationships with them through meaningful engagement based on mutual respect and trust. More than any other stakeholder, 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 2021

  • Updated and approve Community Policy, which requires everyone working for and on behalf of Gold Fields, to undertake IAR activities in a way that avoids harm and builds respectful relationships with communities
  • We continued the roll-out of our revised artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) strategy at our Ghanaian operations (see host communities)
  • No resettlement was undertaken at our operations in 2021. Our JV partner, Galiano Gold, successfully resettled the Tetrem community – comprising 277 dwellings and community structures – to a newly established village at a cost of US$29m. This was done after the expansion of the Essase pit and in accordance with a resettlement action plan designed in terms of international best practice
  • Our Australian sites aligned their plans with the region's revised Indigenous Peoples and cultural heritage management plan (see host communities)

Community grievance mechanisms

We are committed to addressing community issues and concerns relating to our operations timeously and effectively, where possible. 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 put forward their complaints freely, while obligating our mines to address the grievances within an agreed period, before the grievance is escalated to independent mediation should our teams not be able to resolve issues raised.

During 2021, our operations dealt with 65 (2020: 139) grievances lodged by our communities, of which 25 related to jobs and procurement, along with 24 social and six environmental-related grievances. We resolved 91% of these grievances within the agreed timeframes. The outstanding grievances relate mainly to jobs and procurement.


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 voluntarily adopted the Conflict-Free Gold Standard of the WGC after we withdrew our membership in 2014. We rejoined the WGC in January 2022. No infractions were incurred in 2021.

Further information is available at

Performance in 2021

  • In 2021, Gold Fields registered its first Modern Slavery Compliance Statement with the Australia Federal Government
  • Gold Fields is a founding member of the Human Rights Resource and Energy Collaborative, focusing on promoting human rights best practices and eliminating potential modern slavery practices in the energy and extractive sectors. The organisation established several working groups to focus on key areas of importance to members, with work in these areas ongoing
  • Gold Fields completed risk-based due diligence on selected labour hire companies; no evidence of modern slavery was found among these companies
  • Gold Fields is set to launch a new cloud-based supplier sustainability solution in 2022 to enhance its responsible sourcing programme in the areas of human rights and supply chain decarbonisation
  • During 2021, several business partner forums were held to share our inclusion and diversity targets, as well as current activities aimed at ensuring our workplaces, FIFO camps in WA and facilities are conducive to a safe work environment for all Gold Fields staff and contractor personnel


Gold Fields' protection services teams work with private and public security providers to protect our workers and assets effectively and responsibly. Our operations are aligned with the VPSHR, a commitment we made in 2017 which has since become a requirement of the ICMM Performance Expectations and the WGC Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

All Gold Fields and private security contractors receive human rights training during the induction process and at least annually thereafter, including the VPSHR. Security is managed at regional level because each region has its specific context.

Performance in 2021

  • There were no incidents of human rights abuse by private security or public law enforcement at our operations in 2021
  • A total of 48 police officers deployed to our Damang and Tarkwa sites in Ghana received VPSHR training in 2021
  • Training of security officers at South Deep meets the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers and includes the use of force by security officers, handling of firearms, health and safety, reporting and complaints handling
  • Training in the VPSHR was provided to more than 4,500 people at Cerro Corona, with in-depth training provided to security officers
  • Implementation of the VPSHR continued at our Salares Norte project
  • There were 42 illegal mining incidents at our Ghana operations, minor in nature, which were resolved peacefully in accordance with our ASM strategy and our VPSHR commitment