Partnering with the Community
Cliffs performs assessments of its mining and exploration activities to ensure the Company enters and exits communities in a responsible manner, thereby requiring open, effective communication. The opinions of Cliffs’ stakeholders are critical to our decision-making process in all aspects of our operations. It is essential that we work collaboratively with local communities, regulators, elected officials, businesses, and others so as to establish and maintain relationships and support activities that are of mutual benefit to Cliffs and the community. These efforts are integral to preserving Cliffs’ social license to operate.
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 providing 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. Engagement with indigenous populations near our active and proposed mine operations to establish and foster relationships is critical to the way Cliffs does business. Mutually beneficial agreements with such groups creates cultural awareness, establishes a foundation for economic independence in the communities, and educates us on the responsibilities associated with culturally sensitive heritage sites.
Since acquiring the rights to Chromite deposits in Northern Ontario in 2010, engaging with First Nations communities near the proposed operation has been an important focus for Cliffs. Despite the Project having been suspended indefinitely in November 2013, we continue to engage with the First Nations communities in respectful and constructive dialogue so as to maintain our relationships. While Cliffs is hopeful the Project will resume at some point in the future and we are able to enter into the environmental assessment phase, we would look forward to continued, more in depth engagement with the local First Nations and Metis (indigenous) communities. In the meantime, Cliffs continues its work toward formalizing its overall engagement process with indigenous communities which will prove valuable not only for environmental assessment processes, but will also support environmental stewardship in our miningareas.
Social Investment and Engagement
Through Cliffs’ charitable giving program the Company supports community and regional initiatives through facility-based discretionary giving, corporate contributions, and the Company’s non-profit charitable fund, The Cliffs Foundation. In addition to giving back to our communities financially, Cliffs engages in community outreach to drive shared benefit. . Examples of our community engagement efforts include recycling programs, food drives, tree plantings, creek and trail cleanups, mock Emergency Medical Service drills, and other forms of community service.
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 education initiatives at local schools within the mine communities, including mine tours for the general public and school groups, job shadowing, teacher workshops, environmental fairs, development of environmental classrooms, and as volunteer educator on mining-related topics.
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 future workforce mining professionals, thus supporting the viability of our communities.