Supporting Good Governance in Guinea

Over the last decade, Guinea has made significant progress in improving its performance regarding transparency, good governance and human rights, in particular in the mining sector.

For example, Guinea is now a full member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The Natural Resources Governance Institute highlights the progress Guinea has made in improving governance in its mining sector.

In this context, SMFG seeks to support the Government of Guinea to achieve its objectives with regard to the rule of law and the fight against corruption, in particular as laid out in Guinea’s new Constitution of 2020, Guinea’s law of 2017 fighting corruption and in particular articles 154-156 of the Guinean Mining Code of 2011, amended in 2013.

Integrity is a fundamental value of SMFG. The company is genuinely committed to the eradication of bribery and corruption in all its forms so that all the people of Guinea enjoy the full benefits of mineral development. SMFG’s approach is set out in a strict Business Integrity Policy and Anti-Corruption Standard.

All staff and contractors are trained in and required to abide by the company’s Code of Conduct, which provides easy access to the rules that govern day-to-day behaviour. Anything-of-value proposed to a governmental official or traditional authority must go through a rigorous prior screening process to ensure it does not and cannot be seen to influence that official to contravene Guinean and any applicable international law like the UK Anti-Bribery Act or the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

This process covers all community support, fees, per diems, governmental services and donations. Before hiring an individual or company, or issuing a contract, SMFG screens them to ensure they do not have a record calling into question their integrity. Employment is carried out transparently, with checks and balances so that no one involved in recruiting can improperly influence a decision

Human Rights through Community Relations

SMFG believes strongly in a proactive approach.

Through its community and external relations programmes, including its collaboration with CCLMs (Comités de concertation dans les localités minières), the company identifies and addresses tensions, rumours and other sources of misunderstanding that could lead to confrontations and conflict when breaches of human rights could occur. SMFG takes all reasonable measures to prevent the use of force in any dispute.

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

All of SMFG’s security contractors and the Guinean security forces assigned to the company’s work sites are trained in the US/UK Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. SMFG has also supported training in human rights for the Nimba Mountains’ Environmental Management Centre: the Centre de Gestion de l’Environnement des monts Nimba et Simandou (CEGENS).

UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

SMFG actively supports the right of its staff to unionise, and invests in building the local unions’ capacity to represent workers’ rights in constructive manners.

The company rigorously upholds the Guinean Labour Code and subsequent regulations. Child and forced labour are strictly forbidden, as is any form of adverse discrimination based on origin, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or age. SMFG is an equal-opportunity employer. The company has established a ‘just working culture’ whereby employees and contractors can make complaints on equal footing, including anonymously, and they are addressed seriously and according to transparent, equitable principles and procedures. SMFG has a separate grievance mechanism available to members of the local community. This grievance mechanism is widely publicised locally. Complaints may be made in person, in writing (using secure SMFG post-boxes in villages), or by telephone. French, English or any national Guinean language can be used. Grievances are registered, addressed, escalated (if needed), monitored and closed out in a transparent manner, in accordance with good practice. SMFG requires its suppliers to adhere to human rights obligations, too.

Human Rights and the ESIA

Human Rights and the ESIA

The environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) includes an assessment of the proposed Project on human rights, including its potential impact on vulnerable or marginalised people.