While 86-year-old Peter Munk may have stepped down as chairman of Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold producer and the company he founded 30 years ago, his legacy of giving and corporate social responsibility lives on in many ways. "To give is part of Barrick's DNA," said Munk. "It's part of who we are."
The May 2014 edition of Beyond Borders, Barrick's magazine, which highlights global examples of responsible mining reminds us about corporate giving with some examples close to home. Barrick regularly makes donations, which both support major institutions utilized by thousands and individual projects supporting communities where it operates.
Recently, Barrick donated $3 million to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to support educational programs benefitting more than 150,000 students annually. The donation also led to the creation of the Barrick Gold Corporation Gallery, which tells the story of modern mining through an interactive mining game, educational touch screens, videos and the attraction of a million dollar gold coin.
"The gallery illustrates the importance of mining in our daily lives and discusses the social and environmental responsibilities surrounding mining," said Janet Carding, CEO of the ROM. "We are grateful to our partners and sponsors, including Barrick and our advisory council for their valued support."
Closer to its operations in northwestern Ontario, Barrick Hemlo is helping provide improved shelter for two families in Marathon. Barrick Hemlo, which operates the Williams and David Bell mines, is contributing $50,000 to a Habitat for Humanity led project.
"This was a good opportunity for us to bring people together for a common cause and do some good in the community," said Debra Bouchie, employee relations superintendent at Barrick Hemlo. Habitat for Humanity works with volunteers and partners to build and/or refurbish affordable housing.
Since 1994, its Thunder Bay organization has built 27 homes – all in Thunder Bay. Two families are scheduled to move into their new homes in Marathon, located about three hours by road east of Thunder Bay, in the summer.
"We have a huge district," says Diane Mitchell, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Thunder Bay. "We just don't have the capacity to go out into the district and we could not have done this project without Barrick. We can't thank them enough."
Back to Munk, who has supported charitable giving both corporately and personally. He plans to leave the vast majority of his wealth to the Peter Munk Charitable Foundation, which was founded in 1992. So far the foundation has distributed $160 million, much of it to support educational and health care institutions. High profile examples include a $37 million donation to Toronto General Hospital and $50.9 million donation to the University of Toronto.
Sudbury-born/Toronto-based communications consultant and editor of the blog Republic of Mining Stan Sudol has done the industry a service by creating a top 10 list of events in Ontario's mining history. Peter Munk: Canada's king of gold came in at number five on the list.
Mining companies are responsible, solution providing partners in society. They do more than find, extract and process minerals essential to our modern lifestyle. They volunteer and add great value to the quality of life in their communities and beyond.
*Peter McBride is manager of communications at the Ontario Mining Association, OMA.on.ca.