Why it matters 

Retaining, developing and engaging employees is key to operating a successful business.

The Group’s Executive Committee, led by the CEO, made seven visits to the operations in 2015, to verify the critical controls for the key risks were being implemented effectively

In 2013, the Group designed a corporate human resources strategy for all its companies. New programmes and tools were introduced in 2014 and consolidated in 2015, in line with the corporate Costs and Competitiveness Programme.

The aim of Antofagasta’s Human Resources strategy is to develop and ensure it has the organisational capabilities to sustain its business strategy over the short, medium and long term. The strategic objectives are:

  • developing a Group organisational model through the capture of best practices, promoting synergy and supporting competitiveness;
  • strengthening Group culture through promoting shared values, principles and ethics while enhancing the leadership model;
  • Talent Management including development programmes and tools, performance management and succession planning for key positions; and
  • enhance employees engagement to the organisation.

Antofagasta is one of the largest mining operators in Chile. In 2015, the Group had a total workforce of approximately 19,200 of which some 27% were employees and the balance were contractors. The workforce declined compared with 26,151 in 2014 due to the completion of the construction of Antucoya and the departure of the contractors working there.

The Group ensures its own and its contractors’ compliance with all Chilean laws and regulations, and with the Group’s values and Code of Ethics, including the fundamental respect for human rights. Labour agreements which cover salaries, working hours, compensation and employment benefits, are negotiated with the unions at all of the Group’s operations. These agreements were last negotiated in the mining division in 2013 and 2014 and cover a period of up to four years. There are ten unions in total, three at Los Pelambres, three at Centinela, two at Zaldívar and one at each of Michilla and Antucoya. The Group recognises employees’ rights to union membership and collective bargaining, and promotes equal opportunities in the workforce.

Group employees receive a fair salary, commensurate with industry benchmarks. Training opportunities are available for all employees and job opportunities are advertised internally to promote internal mobility. The Group strives to offer a safe work environment, good quality accommodation, medical and other support. The maximum number of working hours is prescribed under Chilean law, which also forbids child and forced labour.

In 2015, women represented 10% of the mining division’s workforce and 8% of them are supervisors or above. There is one woman on the Executive Committee and one on the Board.

Contractors form some 72% of the mining division’s workforce and therefore the management of contractors and maintaining their high standards of performance is key to the Group’s success and reputation.

The Group audits its main contractors on a regular basis to ensure compliance with Chilean labour legislation and the Group’s labour and safety standards including monthly audits to ensure that all wages and associated social contributions are paid by the contractors’ employers, before the next invoice is paid. In addition, contractors’ employers are required to pay their employees a minimum salary that is approximately 70% above the lowest legal wage in Chile.

Contractors receive training on the Group’s safety and other standards and are required to uphold the same high level of safety practices as the Group’s own employees. Additionally, a new Group-wide procedure has been implemented on particular safety prevention techniques and actions to be executed by each relevant contractor under the supervision of the contractor’s employer.

In 2013, the Group adopted a new safety model in line with international best practices and ICMM recommendations. The pillars of this model are:

  • identifying and understanding key fatality or serious injury risks;
  • implementing critical controls;
  • reporting and investigating near misses; and
  • increasing on the ground senior leadership.

Analysis of the key risk areas identified that, between 2006 and 2015, 11 types of risk were responsible for all of the fatalities and 95% of the high-potential near misses. The Group concentrated on these risk areas increasing leadership and awareness, assigning responsibility for risks and auditing safety procedures.

In 2016, the focus will be to monitor and audit the safety performance and to extend all procedures to contractors to strengthen the performance of contractor companies.

The Group’s Executive Committee, led by the CEO, made seven visits to the operations in 2015, to verify the critical controls for the key risks were being implemented effectively.

Among other initiatives, on-site supervision of key safety risks, near-miss reporting, distribution of newsletters about the causes of severe accidents, extended site management meetings that focus on safety, and public recognition for employees that demonstrate the best safety conduct help raise safety awareness. The Group also trains and supervises employees and oversees safety standards and practices for all contractors.

During 2015, 3,904 people were trained in key aspects of the safety and health model such as incident reporting, investigation of high-potential near-misses and Antofagasta´s new safety and health guidance for contractors.

All employees complete a safety and health induction course before starting work. There are regular refresher workshops on safety policies and procedures, to discuss lessons learned from near-miss incidents and share examples of best practice.

Safety performance is reported weekly to the Executive Committee and monthly to the Board. Fatal and serious accidents are reviewed in detail by the Board’s Sustainability and Stakeholder Management Committee. Operational safety reviews are conducted by the Executive Committee across all operations.

While over the years the Group has steadily reduced the severity and frequency of accidents, fatalities have not been eliminated. In 2015, one contractor died at the Michilla operation. Fatalities are not acceptable and this incident has further heightened the Group’s awareness of its safety responsibilities. Important lessons have been learned and new measures are being implemented to strengthen the operational control of our contractors and to accelerate their adoption of the new safety and health model.

The Group’s objective is to achieve zero fatalities for employees and contractors in each and every year. All contractors are required to comply with the new safety and health procedures and, going forwards, this will be further strengthened through technical support audits and monitoring. Compliance with the safety and health model is audited twice a year at each of the Group’s operations and exploration projects. The results of these audits are reported to the Group CEO and the General Manager of each mining operation.