Social engagement

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Author: Meghan Cartwright

Contents

Definition of engagement

Engagement is "the basis for effective communication, and together these are the foundation for mutual awareness, respect, and understanding, which in turn are the foundation for relationship building" (Aboriginal Engagement Task Group, 2008). It is the act of formally and informally involving and consulting with stakeholders and communities of interest in the design, implementation and remediation of mineral extraction projects. It involves mutual participation and ongoing dialogue between a company and its stakeholders (International Finance Corporation, 2009). It is important to note that the "approach, extent, and effectiveness of the engagement differ substantially from one location to another"(Aboriginal Engagement Task Group, 2008). Engagement involves a sustained effort throughout the mining life cycle (Aboriginal Engagement Task Group, 2008).

Purpose of social engagement

The purposes of stakeholder and community engagement are to:

  • Identify the stakeholders and communities that could be affected by the project, including potential partners and/or opponents;
  • Identify and prioritize the needs, desires and opportunities of a community;
  • Develop and nurture relationships with communities of interest;
  • Identify the positive and negative impacts of the mining operation on the community, the environment, and their sustainability;
  • Gather and exchange information to develop creative ideas;
  • Identify community and company resources that can be shared or will be impacted;
  • Encourage community and stakeholder involvement in all phases of the project and the monitoring of its effects on the community and/or environment;
  • Receive input into proposed changes to policies and/or practices; and
  • Monitor the project impacts to ensure that community and stakeholder expectations are being met (International Finance Corporation, 2009; Aboriginal Engagement Task Group, 2008)

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Importance and benefits of social engagement

Engagement has numerous benefits to mining companies, their stakeholders, and the communities in which they operate. The viability of the mining industry is vitally dependent on the engagement between governments, industries, communities and Aboriginal people (Aboriginal Engagement Task Group, 2008). When engagement is done effectively, stakeholders and communities of interest are involved in the design, operation, closure and remediation of a mining project. Due to this involvement, the mining activity and associated community development initiatives are more likely to be perceived as "appropriate, effective, and sustainable" (International Finance Corporation, 2009). "Engaging with communities and contributing towards community development is not only the right thing for companies to do, it also makes good business sense." (Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources of the Australian Government, 2006) By forming good working relationships and increasing operation transparency with stakeholders and communities, a company can earn its "social license to operate" by increasing the stakeholders' and communities' confidence and trust in the sustainability of the project (International Finance Corporation, 2009).

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References

  • _AA1000 Overview_. (2007). Retrieved February 26, 2009, from AccountAbility: [1]
  • Aboriginal Engagement Task Group. (2008). _Aboriginal Engagement in the Mining and Energy Sectors._ Intergovernmental Working Group on the Mineral Industry. Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources of the Australian Government. (2006). _Community Engagement and Development: Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry._ Commonwealth of Australia.
  • Fidler, C., & Hitch, M. (2007). Impact and Benefit Agreement: A Contentious Issue for Environmental and Aboriginal Justice. _Environments Journal._
  • Hodge, A., Stauch, J., & Taggart, I. (2007). Freedom to Choose - Natural Resources Revenues and the Futute of Northern Communities. _Power, Revenue and Benefits - Ensuring Fairness Now and Across Generations._ Fort Good Hope, NWT: Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
  • International Finance Corporation. (2009). _Briefs: Opportunities and Challenges of Extractive Industries_. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from The Oil, Gas and Mining Sustainable Community Development Fund: [2]
  • International Finance Corporation. (2009). _Briefs: Stakeholder Engagement and Capacity Building_. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from The Oil, Gas and Mining Sustainable Community Development Fund: [3]
  • International Finance Corporation. (2009). _Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement_. Retrieved February 25, 2009, from The Oil, Gas and Mining Sustainable Community Development Fund: [4]

McIntosh, W. K. (2006). _Building Sustainable Relationships: A Compendium of Leadership Practices in Aboriginal Engagement and Sustainability._ Toronto: Canadian Business for Social Responsibility.

  • _National Standards for Community Engagement_. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2009, from Scottish Community developement Center: [5]
  • Rae, M. (2008, October). First Nations - Indrusty: Impact and Benefit Agreements.
  • Sosa, I., & Keenan, K. (2001). _Impact Benefit Agreements between Aboriginal Communities and Mining Companies: Their Use in Canada._ Retrieved from [6]

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External links

  • Aboriginal Engagement in the Mining & Energy Sectors: Case Studies and Lessons Learned, by the Aboriginal Engagement Task Group of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Mineral Industry: [7] 
  • Building Sustainable Relationships: A Compendium of Leadership Practices in Aboriginal Engagement and Sustainability, by William K. McIntosh for Canadian Business for Social Responsibility: [8] 
  • Exploring Indigenous Perspectives on Consultation and Engagement within the Mining Sector of Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada (Phase I), by the North-South Institute: [9]
  • Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia's First Nations and Community Relations website: [10] 
  • Mineral Exploration, Mining and Aboriginal Community Engagement: A Guidebook, by the Oil, Gas and Mining Sustainable Community Development Fund of the International Finance Corporation: [11] 
  • Beyond the Mine: The Journey Toward Sustainable Mining, the Newmont Gold Company's Community Engagement website: [12]
  • Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry - Community Engagement and Development, by the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources: [13]
  • Mining Watch Canada: [14]
  • For Impact Benefit Agreements: 
    • IBA Research Network: [15] (The IBA Research Network aims on educating people on IBAs and reducing the knowledge gap. They provide current news on IBAs and can be used a great tool for benchmarking.)
    • Assembly of First Nations: [16]
    • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: [17]
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