I first heard the words “meeting under the mango tree” as a euphemism for having a predictable, easy to access process for enabling community members to raise issues and concerns in a safe and familiar place.  There is no fixed agenda and no one-size-fits-all for these exchanges. With one company we set up drop-in centres in each local village with a designated community officer in attendance everyday. Another made it known that a company person would be available “under the mango tree” for two hours every market day. I was hoping this blog would achieve something similar – the regular, free and open sharing of ideas and experiences. It hasn't worked so I'm taking a break and having a bit of a rethink. In the meantime I'll be reposting a "best of" selection from time to time.

Mining Insights Archives

In the beginning...

Mining Insights |  11 June 2023

My social licence journey began I went to Ghana as part of a team planning to build a new mine. I had been working on the studies and design work for the company's Ghana projects for five years so I was very familiar with the project but not particularly familiar with Ghana which I had visited only three times, two of those being very short project kick-off trips. I was also a complete community novice, with Ghana being my first overseas assignment so, perhaps not surprisingly, I made plenty of mistakes. What follows is a look back on some of the processes we put in place and the results we saw in three important areas...

Mining and Community Complaints

Mining Insights |  12 March 2023

What are we talking about here?

Taking complaints seriously and establishing a good complaint handling procedure is one of the most effective ways of dealing with local concerns. Implementing a simple, well-designed procedure demonstrates a willingness to take community members and their issues seriously. A good process can play a major part in building better relationships with local communities, will help with the early identification and resolution of concerns and will reduce the potential for unanswered questions to escalate into something more serious.

Mining and Social Licence

Mining Insights |  5 March 2023

Social Licence to Operate is a mining industry concept. The expression was first used by Canadian Jim Cooney in 1997. This was a decade after the landmark 1987 Brundtland Report and a few years after the concept of the triple-bottom-line was first described by John Elkington. Its use has now spread well beyond the mining industry and as has happened with triple-bottom-line and sustainable development, the term "social licence" has been interpreted and used in many ways. Licence to Operate is currently seen by many as one of the biggest risks to the mining and metals industry, just as it was back in the 1990’s when Jim Cooney coined the term...

Mining and Community Health

Mining Insights |  1 February 2022

What are we talking about here?

In the context of exploration, project development and mine operations, project related activities and physical structures will directly, indirectly, and cumulatively change community exposures to environment-based health risks, communicable diseases, equipment accidents, and exposure to hazardous materials or conditions. Communities, households and individuals, government health services and privately operated health services are all affected to a greater or lesser degree, with women, children, the elderly, and minorities – being particularly vulnerable to health-related issues. While public authorities have a role in promoting the health and safety of communities, companies have a responsibility to avoid or minimise the risks and negative impacts to community health and safety that may arise from activities and changes related to their projects... 

Mining and Project Induced In-Migration

Mining Insights |  1 February 2022

What is Project Induced In-migration?

Project Induced In-migration (PIIM) is the movement of people into an area in anticipation of, or in response to, opportunities associated with the development and/or operation of a new project and is an inevitable consequence of project development. Exploration and development activities may directly induce in-migration or may be a catalyst for the broader economic development of the region that leads to in-migration. Either way, companies can contribute to a reduction of in-migration and prevent and/or mitigate the impacts. In-migration affects individuals, households and communities, traditional authorities and local government. Women, children, the elderly, and minorities – are particularly vulnerable to disruptive change. Unlike some other company related impacts, addressing PIIM is often not well understood so here are a few ideas you might want to consider...


Mining and Land Access

Mining Insights |  1 February 2022

What are we talking about?

Land access needs to be viewed in two parts. Land Access can be temporary and short-term and in the context of mineral exploration is associated with initial reconnaissance, surveying, test-pits and drilling. Camp facilities are usually considered temporary although their use may extend for many years.  These activities can cause temporary loss of economic benefit from land use as a result of short-term restricted access for farming and damage to / loss of crops. Temporary land access should not result in physical displacement.

The second aspect is Land Acquisition and Resettlement. This is associated with accessing land required for building new (greenfields) or expanded (brownfield) operations. Large-scale land acquisition, involving large numbers of individuals, significant areas and resettlement is typically associated with greenfield projects, and is a complex and costly (typically running to $Ms) and lengthy (2-5 years) undertaking that must be managed using robust project management processes. The work is usually outsourced to resettlement specialists...