A non-profit sustainability consulting company for the mining industry
December 10, 2019

Toronto, Canada

Toronto, ON L4G6H8

Community Engagement

Building social capital through community building

Effective community engagement typically involves discussions with key stakeholders, extending beyond only “experts”

Community stakeholders may include local, national, and international environmental activists, local community groups, and sometimes the general public

indig_culture

Mining

Community Engagement Landscape

Commitment to Local Communities

A social license is usually granted on a site-specific basis by the local community

Social Capital

Each community has its own specific issues and interests that can form the basis for relationship building between the company and the community, and can create social capital and, in turn, the Social License

Technical Credibility ≠ Social Credibility

Companies must understand the local community ‘rules of the game’ to establish social legitimacy

Problem

A social license with community is the most difficult problem facing the mining industry. It drives the agenda at the board room level and creates the most difficult risks to measure and develop strategies for

Although a company may understand the value of social engagement, sometimes, despite the company’s efforts and the results it has achieved, some members of communities may not believe that the company is listening to their concerns or doing enough to address them.

This is a sign that the company’s implementation of the social engagement process is poorly strategized or executed and will fall short of mutually acceptable results. This failure to engage and execute typically causes disastrous results and could lead to loss of confidence in the relationship, costly work stoppages, violence and termination of the project. There is a methodology for a company to establish positive and productive engagement with stakeholders that will form a solid foundation for company-community relations.

Solution

Qualified listening tools to meet community expectations through novel social impact assessments

Improved corporate procedures and practices to improve local community engagement

Improved community local governance to align with corporate procedures and practices

Develop a strong corporate orientation to adopt international standards to environment and operations

“A social license to operate exists when a mineral exploration or mining project is seen as having the approval, the broad acceptance of society to conduct its activities…Such acceptability must be achieved on many levels, but it must begin with, and be firmly grounded in, the social acceptance of the resource development by local communities”

Joyce and Thomson 2000: 52

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