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Community Relations in Mineral Development Projects

Cecilia Gonzales Guerra, Mining and Oil & Gas Development in Latin America (2001)

The global mineral industry is undergoing dramatic changes when undertaking mineral development activities. The current economic and engineering models, based on negotiations between industry and governments as the only stakeholders does not fully respond to the needs, concerns and views of other stakeholders, in particular those of indigenous minorities, local communities and concerned Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). A more complex model therefore needs to be developed that takes these issues into account.

This paper considers the background and new context for mineral development projects, and identifies local communities as one of the key new stakeholders whose needs, concerns and views must be taken into account or accommodated into a “socially acceptable” model for development of mineral projects.

This paper contends that, although there have been substantial improvements in the attempt to integrate local communities into the business equation, as an active stakeholder, there is still room for improvement. Action needs to be taken by the industry and governments, as the traditional stakeholders, towards a partnership alliance model that includes issues affecting all other stakeholders. Suggestions are offered on how mining can achieve acknowledgement as a socially acceptable activity.