Located in the high Andes, our Chilean operations are accessed by public roads that cross lands held by indigenous peoples (the Colla). Kinross has long-standing and productive relationships with these Colla communities which have evolved and formalized over time. In 2009, Convention No. 169, the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO), took effect in Chile. Kinross is working to operate and engage with the Colla in a manner that is aligned with these principles.
Engagement with indigenous communities has always been part of day-to-day operations. In 2008, we signed a protocol agreement with the Rio Jorquera Colla Community establishing formal regular dialogue tables and defining the focus of our social investments in education, training, tourism and medical assistance.
In 2010 and 2011, a key focus of our discussions with the Rio Jorquera Colla Community related to the impacts of the mining-related traffic on the public access roads leading to our Maricunga operation. For more information on our response to these issues, see the Engaging Our Stakeholders section in this report.
In addition to the ongoing consultation and engagement with communities regarding our Maricunga operation, our Lobo-Marte project is carrying out consultation as part of the pre-project work for that development site, including baseline studies of the nearby communities (see discussion in the Lobo-Marte section of the Key Stakeholder Issues). In 2011, we also established Working Tables with three indigenous communities in the vicinity of our Lobo-Marte project. With the participation of the Government Indigenous People Agency (CONADI), the Working Tables focus on education and economic support for small business start-ups. They are also helping us to jointly set the agenda for our Social Investment Strategy. One example of an initiative underway is a pre-feasibility study for the design of a water pipeline to provide water to the Pastos Grandes Colla community inn. The design of the pipeline would ensure that water reaches the spring located in the “El Salto” hill. The water rights are being contributed by Kinross. The study is expected to be completed during 2012.
A fourth community suspended its relationship with Kinross when we declined their request for financial support for a cultural celebration involving capturing and taking the life of an animal (the high-altitude vicuña) because it was at odds with Kinross’ biodiversity guidelines. Early in 2012, we re-established our relationship with this indigenous community by working with them and the Government animal health regulatory agency to find ways to honour the tradition of the cultural celebration while respecting the biodiversity of the area. Remaining true to the spirit of the celebration, the capture of the vicuña became an opportunity to implement an inoculation program to protect the health of the vicuña, avoiding any loss of life. Building on the renewed relationship, our goal is to establish a Working Table with this community during 2012.
In 2010 and 2011, we supported a range of ongoing capacity-building activities, which included:
- Continued financial assistance and scholarships to Colla elementary and high-school students who must travel a substantial distance to attend classes. In 2010, we supported 97 Colla students and their families; in 2011, support was provided to 102 students;
- In partnership with Chile’s Public Roads Department, we provided $41,000 towards construction of a reservoir for agricultural irrigation to support the health and well-being of the Rio Jorquera Colla community near our Maricunga operations;
- Continued veterinarian and other program support for rural water management and animal husbandry methods; and
- Provided ongoing financial and in-kind assistance to the Multicultural Native Association.