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 am hoping this blog will achieve something similar – the regular, free and open sharing of ideas and experiences. Time will tell how well it works out.
Mining Insights Archives
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.
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 the biggest risk to the mining and metals industry, just as it was back in the 1990’s when Jim Cooney coined the term...
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...
A few years ago I reviewed a community-company grievance mechanism. The client didn’t have the best of reputations and I had some seriously negative preconceptions when I agreed to take on the work. I have to say, I was wrong. I found the teams on site were doing a much better job than I expected with a significant and multifaceted effort being put into grievance prevention…
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...
Why Building Strong Relationships Matters.
Going into a new area to explore and ultimately build and operate a mine you start with high and positive expectations that you can work constructively with the local communities. Then it goes off the rails. Most often, with good intentions and a focus on an immediate issue, individuals in the company or in the community will take actions or make decisions (or fail to take actions or make decisions) that over time, cumulatively and progressively add up to major problems and consequences that are for the most part predictable – difficulties, costly delays and if it really goes badly, loss of the project. The good news is that 10 simple actions you can take will give you far more control than you might think...
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