Partnering with the Community
Cliffs performs assessments on our mining and exploration activities to ensure we enter and exit communities in a responsible manner and communicate openly and effectively while working with the community. Local communities and neighbors’ opinions are critical to Cliffs’ decision-making process in all aspects of our operations. We work collaboratively with local communities and regulators to establish relationships and support activities that are of mutual benefit to Cliffs and to the community.
Access to Natural Areas
As a good corporate citizen, Cliffs provides public access to some natural areas that are not being utilized for operations and that may be beneficial to our communities. As we enter into new locations, we acknowledge the importance of our habitat preservation efforts by producing public access to these lands when possible. By caring for natural areas, we are able to provide community members with lands for no- or low-cost utility easements, recreational leases, roadways and residential sites. Within each operating site, we carefully consider areas from which the public may benefit.
Aligned with Cliffs’ Human Rights Policy is the fair consideration of indigenous peoples. Given the increasing globalization of our operations, Cliffs’ relationships with local populations are essential for corporate citizenship. As part of our efforts, we continue to establish and foster our relationships with indigenous peoples. Our proposed, mutually beneficial agreements with such groups create cultural awareness, establishes a foundation for economic independence in the communities, and educates us on the responsibilities associated with culturally sensitive heritage sites.
In 2010, the First Nations communities located near our proposed Chromite operation have been an important focus in that project. We continue to engage with the First Nations communities in a proactive manner to share information, learn and better understand their interests and engage in respectful and constructive dialogue and planning relating to the project, and will continue to do so as the project progresses. As we enter into the environmental assessment phase, we are looking forward to continued engagement with the local First Nations and Metis (indigenous) communities. Cliffs is currently working toward formalizing engagement processes with First Nations Communities and expects to do so in 2011. This input is valuable not only for the environmental assessment, but also for environmental stewardship in the area.
Social Investment and Engagement
Through the Cliffs Foundation and our local operations efforts, Cliffs supports community and regional initiatives. The Foundation focuses on four primary areas of benefit to our communities: education, health and human services, cultural resources and civic-related projects. In addition to giving back to our communities financially, Cliffs engages in community outreach to drive shared benefit.
Cliffs values quality education to help prepare youth within our communities for their future, a priority for Cliffs because not only are they an extension of our employees’ families, but they are also the workforce of the future. Cliffs engages in various education initiatives at local schools within the mine communities including public and school group mine tours, job shadowing and teacher workshops, environmental fairs and news media stories.
Whether we are providing industry and career information or knowledge on various Company programs such as those related to environment or sustainability, we strive to help educate future generations. Through these efforts Cliffs helps grow the workforce of the future and mining professionals, providing support to the viability of our communities.