OUR COMMUNITIES

Bringing lasting benefits to local communities

Equinox Gold believes that mining projects should breathe new life into communities, bringing significant economic benefits and social development opportunities that can endure well beyond the life of the project. Early engagement and collaboration is a cornerstone of Equinox Gold’s business model.

Award for Mining Excellence

Aurizona Community Garden Program
Aurizona Community Garden Program

A summary of Equinox Gold’s approach to community engagement and development, progress during 2020 and next steps for 2021 can be found in our Responsible Mining: Commitments & Performance document and additional information can be found in Equinox Gold’s 2020 ESG report in English, Portuguese or Spanish

Communication & Collaboration

Early and open communication

By communicating early and openly with community members and other stakeholders, Equinox Gold can consider feedback when establishing its development plans with the objective of minimizing potential adverse impacts and resulting in projects that are more robust and supported by local communities. In our consultation programs, we consider vulnerable groups and communities that may be at heightened risk of marginalization in the identification, assessment and management of significant social, environmental and economic impacts associated with our business. These programs feed into our social risk assessment and impact management programs, which are intended to reduce adverse impacts enhance our positive impacts on communities and strengthen our social license to operate.

We have formal systems in place to identify stakeholders and communities of interest, and have accessible feedback mechanisms that give communities a voice in the way we conduct our business. We actively seek the opinions of our host communities to understand how our plans and our activities affect them and regularly monitor and evaluate the results of community programs and projects to ensure we are meeting. Our site teams have dedicated community departments to ensure we understand the things we are doing well, and where we need improvement, and to seek collaborative solutions. These teams also keep track of commitments with our communities and legal obligations to ensure we are compliant with community agreements and permit requirements.

Our Open Doors program offers site tours for local authorities, associations and school groups so they can see the mines firsthand and learn about mining operations. In addition, regular visits to neighbouring communities ensures Equinox Gold is receiving real-time feedback from the communities in which it operates.

Hiring and buying locally

Equinox Gold offers training programs to build local capacity for a wide range of employment opportunities, which benefits both the company and local communities. Having a pool of skilled local employees generally results in a workforce that is more engaged in environmental and social performance and ensures that benefits from the mine are retained locally through local spending of wages and salaries. In addition, hiring locally ensures Equinox Gold can better understand the cultural and political nuances of doing business outside of Canada.

Providing the opportunity to learn new skills also brings long-lasting benefits to community members, who can advance through the workforce with Equinox Gold, transfer these skills to other related projects in the region, or create new businesses in the community. 

At Equinox Gold’s Brazil mines, 99% of the workforce is Brazilian with the majority of employees and contractors coming from local communities. At the Company’s Los Filos Mine in Mexico, approximately 99% of the employees are Mexican and approximately 98% of unionized employees are from neighbouring communities.

We commit to maximizing our contributions to local economic development by supporting and fostering local entrepreneurship and purchasing goods and services from local suppliers. The taxes and royalties paid to local, state/provincial and federal governments also benefit the regions and countries in which we operate as these resources go toward social benefits such as infrastructure improvements, training initiatives and health care.

Equinox Gold offers training programs and prioritizes hiring and buying locally to ensure community members and local businesses are participating in the mine’s success.
Equinox Gold strives to have a positive social impact by supporting development initiatives that meet the needs and priorities of local communities.
Mezcala Community Centre
Mezcala Community Centre

Supporting local ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

Equinox Gold’s objective is to leave a positive legacy of improved infrastructure, skills development and healthy, sustainable communities. The Company conducts social/community impact assessments prior to working in new areas and when major expansions are planned. Throughout the mine life, we meet regularly with local community leaders and interest groups to discuss common issues, seek solutions and implement collaborative strategies with the aim of improving the quality of life for community members. All sites have philanthropic programs to support local community initiatives, and most sites have community development programs and partnerships with local organizations and/or governments dedicated to supporting sustainable development in our host communities.

For example, we recently completed construction of a new school for the Aurizona community (Brazil) and assisted in the construction of a community centre for the Mezcala community, close to our Los Filos mine.

Also at our Aurizona Mine in Brazil, Equinox Gold has partnered with both local and federal governments to support a number of initiatives that have improved the quality of life for local communities, such as the installation of a new potable water treatment plant and access to the mine site’s urgent care and emergency clinic.

At Aurizona we have implemented the Integrated and Sustainable Agroecological Production program, which promotes entrepreneurship and training in agricultural practices, and provides access to markets to provide income and revenue alternatives for artisanal miners.

Our Partnership Program at the Fazenda mine in Brazil supports local associations by supporting community development projects. More than half of the projects supported so far are employment and income generation projects, contributing to the diversification of local economies and development of productive activities other than mining.

Equinox Gold also supports health campaigns, sports programs and cultural events. At our Los Filos Mine in Mexico, Equinox Gold has contributed to community health infrastructure and supported health care services, and promotes education by providing scholarships for basic and university schooling. 

 

Human Rights

Equinox Gold recognizes its responsibility to comply with applicable laws and regulations as well as internationally recognized standards to protect the rights of workers, Indigenous peoples and communities across its business activities.

The Company is committed to respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and internationally recognized human rights and to taking adequate measures to ensure we do not cause, and are not complicit in, human rights abuses either directly or through our business relationships. We also work to ensure the rights and needs of landowners are identified and properly addressed and have established grievance mechanisms to deal with rights-related concerns at all operations.

Our commitments and expectations of employees, business partners and those in our supply chain (including security providers) regarding Human Rights are described in our Code of Conduct and Social Responsibility Policy.  In 2021, we started the process to develop a Human Rights due diligence framework. This process has included training for senior leadership at corporate and operational levels as well as a risk assessment. Two site-based assessments are planned for the last quarter of 2021.

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