Community Relations for Mining 101: Back to Basics
Sabrina Dias, SOOP Strategies Inc.
When a project team arrives, develops a project and transitions into operations, it can be assumed that the company brings a model of development based on economic growth, capitalism, market economies, efficiency and round-the-clock operations. But the question remains, are these ideas of development wanted by the local stakeholders? A mining operation imposes a development model based profit maximization upon local communities. Although this model supports the corporation’s immediate financial goals it may not be aligned with those who have a vested interest in the project, such as local government, nearby communities and businesses, local Indigenous groups, and project employees or contractors. These stakeholders have a vested interest how this project is developed and whether it will be a success or a failure. If the operation is a success then local suppliers, service providers and local employees and communities share in that success. If it fails, then they also share in the financial disappointment. So it is in the mutual interest of the company and its stakeholders to understand each other’s goals, intentions and hopes in relation to the mine. Bringing in cheap labour and housing them onsite may support the bottom line. But, if the hopes and expectations of local communities is to enjoy employment then these objectives are out of sync resulting in tension between the mine and local communities. Sabrina will walk delegates through the benefits of proactive community relations, present financial costs of not engaging communities, and provide step-by-step guidance on developing a community relations plan for mega-projects and industrial mine operations that transects the operational functions and is integrated into business strategies. Using two examples (Tanzania and New Caledonia) Sabrina will demonstrate tried tips and tools for project and operations leadership.
community relations, stakeholders, stakeholder engagement, mining operations,