Anglo American Plc - Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox

Guidance on the development and implementation of a complaints procedure for project level complaints


Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies focusing on platinum group metals, diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore, metallurgical and thermal coal. Anglo operates in Africa, Europe, South and North America, Australia and Asia, and holds its headquarters in London, United Kingdom.

In 2003, Anglo introduced the Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT) for identifying and managing corporate impacts on communities and addressing grievances at project level. It provides guidance on the development and implementation of a complaints and grievance procedure for recording, handling and resolving complaints. Every exploration site, project and operation is required to have such a procedure. The tool is designed for use throughout the life cycle of a mine, from exploration to closure.  

Who can access it? 

All interested or affected parties with community-related complaints should have access to the mechanism. This includes neighboring communities and business; local, regional and national governments; employees, contractors, suppliers; NGOs and community based organizations; media groups; other Anglo operations and Anglo American Corporate.

How does it work?

Complaints or grievance procedures can address any community-related issue. All procedures should allow for complaints and grievances to be submitted in more than one format, including: a 24-hour telephone hotline; in person to identified staff members; in writing by hard-copy or via e-mail; in person to elected community members and / or NGOs; informally through employees on behalf of a community in which they live.

Anglo requires that complaints and grievances can be submitted anonymously or via third parties and that at least on free means of submitting complaints and grievances is provided for.

Each grievance should be assessed and classified to the type and severity of the issue (Minor, Moderate or Serious). When assessing complaints and grievances, the following should be considered:

  • Is the complaint or grievance linked to the Anglo operation?
  • Which stakeholders are affected by the issue?
  • How does the complaint or grievance affect the operation’s relationship with its stakeholders?
  • How does the complaint or grievance affect the operation and Anglo, including reputational issues and the legal and social license to operate?

All complaints and grievances must be reported in Anglo’s online system.


Mechanisms should be established for monitoring the effectiveness with which complaints and grievances are being recorded and resolved. The action take to resolve the complaint or grievance needs to be signed-off by a senior member of staff (not the same person who addresses the complaint) with sufficient knowledge about the topic to provide assurance that the complaint or grievance has been adequately resolved.


A Complaints Appeal Panel comprising senior managers and one or more reputable and independent third parties should be in place. If the issue is particularly contentious, a panel may be formed without Anglo representation, established through a process of engagement with key stakeholders to ensure that the composition of the panel commands confidence.

Anglo operates a Group-wide “Speak up” whistle blowing program, allowing complainants to submit complaints and grievances where local mechanisms have not been successful and where the complainant believes there is a breach of Anglo’s Business Principles.


Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT)

Anglo American “Speak up” whistle blowing program

Last edited: 
April, 2013

The descriptions of these mechanisms are based on publicly available information presented by the mechanisms themselves. ACCESS does not add any content from other resources than the mechanisms have provided themselves. ACCESS makes no statements, determinations, or assessments in this database about the effectiveness of the mechanisms described. If you are an administrator or operator of one of the mechanisms described, and you would like us to amend or update the text, we kindly invite you to contact us.