We believe that the way we conduct our business and the way employees act in fulfilling their job responsibilities are fundamental to achieving our business objectives.
We have adopted practices and procedures to ensure that these governance practices are followed. We expect all directors, officers, and employees to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest ethical standards. These are detailed in three key policies:
a) Code of Ethics for officers and employees;
b) Code of Ethics for directors;
c) International Business Conduct Policy for all directors, officers and employees.
Kumtor also has a “whistle-blower” program, which provides directors, officers, and employees a means to anonymously file complaints or submissions in good faith regarding potential ethical obligations by other directors, officers, and employees. Directors, officers and employees are also encouraged to speak to in-house legal counsel, human resources, or their managers if they have any concerns or questions. We provide on-going training on these policies for all of our directors, officers, and employees.
The Code of Ethics for employees
The Code of Ethics for employees addresses, among other things, avoidance of conflicts of interest, protection of confidential information, compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, adherence to good disclosure practices, and procedures for employees and third parties to report concerns with respect to accounting and auditing matters.
Employees with such concerns may report these directly or confidentially or anonymously. In 2018, a total of 2 sessions were held (both for expatriates and Nationals in English and Russian) at Kumtor. Our objective is to conduct this training on an annual basis, and to ensure that all employees receive in-person training at least once every 3 years (if not more in high risk areas). In 2018, we also developed an on-line video to provide similar training which will be used in conjunction with in-person training.
Code of ethics for directors
The Code of Ethics for directors requires promptly report all actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest to the corporate secretary, who is in turn required to bring such conflicts to the attention of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Directors may not participate in discussions, deliberations, or decision-making for matters in which they have a conflict of interest. All new directors are required to review and accept the Code of Ethics for Directors.
International Business Conduct Policy
The International Business Conduct Policy is our anti-corruption policy and is an important component of Kumtor’s commitment to conduct business in an ethical and lawful manner, wherever we work. The International Business Conduct Policy prohibits directors, officers, and employees from making, offering, or promising, “anything of value” to a “Government Official” for an improper purpose such as (without limitation) obtaining preferential treatment, obtaining business, or securing or amending mining permits, licenses and concessions.
In our policy and the accompanying training, we highlight the broad definitions of “anything of value,” which is not restricted to monetary payments, and of “Government Officials” which can include individuals which people do not consider to be Government workers, such as candidates for political parties, and directors on government-owned companies.
We take the International Business Conduct Policy very seriously, and as described above, in late 2012 we initiated additional training at Kumtor related to the International Business Conduct Policy, and introduced the phone “hot-line” to provide support to staff. In 2013, we strengthened our supplier background-check process and introduced anti-corruption clauses into our standard supplier contracts.
Environmental management systems
To understand, evaluate, and manage our environmental footprint, we take a systematic “plan-act-monitor-improve” approach, which is aligned with the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001 and Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Services’ OHSAS 18000 models. This approach began with an environmental impact assessment at the early planning stage of the Kumtor Project, continues with the implementation of our environmental management program, and also incorporates mine closure planning for the future. We follow an Environmental Management Action Plan (EMAP)* designed to address the effects of operations on the environment and to monitor material compliance with permits and other requirements. The system provides for scheduled monitoring, engineering controls, performance requirements in line with good international mining practice and local regulations, and reporting. The system and its key elements are also subject to corporate and external audits and approval by relevant Kyrgyz authorities. We also maintain a corrective preventive action ledger tracking system. This allows the safety and environmental departments to enter corrective action items and responsibilities. It also allows responsible departments to address and close out required activities. The EMAP, originally developed as part of the multilateral project financing for the Kumtor Project, also defines reporting requirements to lenders such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. These reporting requirements cover the following:
- Monitoring results as a monthly average on a station-by-station basis
- Material exceedences and non-compliance with an explanation of corrective action
- Details of reportable spills and corrective actions
- Changes to monitoring protocols or stations
- Status of the closure plan and costs
- Update on data related to acid-rock drainage, waste rock piles, and glaciers
- Yearly estimates of fresh-water usage, tailings storage, and discharges
- Studies related to the site’s environmental affairs
- Outline of the activities, studies and surveys planned for the next reporting period
- Worker health protection and safety initiatives
*Aspects Covered by the EnvironmentalManagement Action Plan (EMAP):
- Handling of hazardous materials and emergency response
- Environment protection, including wildlife conservation
- Containment, control and elimination of seepage and spills
- Policies, programs, training, regulating documents, and reporting procedures
- Mine closure requirements
Summary of Kumtor’s Health, Safety, and Environmental Policy
Kumtor recognizes the protection of the health and safety of its employees, contractors, and the public along with responsible environmental management as being its highest corporate priority. During all stages of our activities — exploration, operations, and decommissioning — we are committed to the safety motto that “no job is so important that we cannot take the time to do it safely.”
Key commitments in our policy include:
- Compliance with applicable laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which we operate, and generally accepted international industry practices
- Providing employees and contractors with a working environment free of uncontrolled hazards Identifying and eliminating or controlling potential risks to health and safety of employees, contractors, and the public to levels as low as reasonably achievable, taking social and economic factors into account
- Preventing environmental impacts and minimizing possible negative exposures to the environment due to company operations
- Achieving continual awareness of and improvement to our overall Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) performance
In support of these commitments, Kumtor will:
- Provide adequate resources and training, implement and maintain a formally approved HSE management system, set objectives and targets so as to improve continually, and conduct regular audits to assess and ensure conformance to this policy
- Identify significant health and safety hazards and risks, potential for accidents and emergency situations, and develop, maintain, and test emergency response plans
- Undertake constructive dialogue with the communities located near Kumtor’s operations to help them understand the importance of Kumtor’s activities related to the health and safety of local communities
- Manage and control industrial waste by applying reduce, reuse, and recycling concepts to minimize pollution
- Engage in constructive communication of this policy with all employees, relevant contractors, and suppliers so they are aware of, and able to comply with their HSE responsibilities in a manner appropriate to their role in the organization, and to encourage them to make contributions to Kumtor’s HSE management