Australian short course on Community Aspects of Resource Developments

Community Aspects of Resource Developments

Managing the impacts on community from resource projects can be challenging for all those involved in leveraging development outcomes from mining. Governments in resource rich countries are faced with dual and sometimes contradictory imperatives of attracting powerful companies to invest and operate while also protecting the interests of their own people. They may lack institutional capacity to regulate mining activities effectively. Similarly, civil society and academe can be unaware of the global standards, which such companies must adhere to. The Community Aspects of Resource Developments short course organised by IM4DC in July 2013, was designed to address some of these issues. 

The four-week course was held in Brisbane and was hosted by The University of Queensland’s SMI Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. 

A total of 20 representatives from nine countries, Ghana, Liberia, Zambia, Nigeria, The Solomon’s, PNG, Indonesia, the Philippines and Mozambique participated. They included representatives from government, academia and civil society. 

The course focused on understanding the complexity of issues surrounding the governance of mining projects and the many social challenges faced on the ground by all stakeholders. There was a strong focus on issues of relevance to government and community stakeholders, and how social issues are being addressed by industry and other stakeholders at local, national and international levels. The program was used to assist participants to develop knowledge and skills to identify and analyse community issues, and to formulate appropriate responses to these issues. 

The short course had two specific objectives:

  • To better understand international companies in the resource sector and the business imperatives for establshing a “social licence to operate”
  • To equip participants to better deal with complex community relations issues.

Field trips were integrated into the program which included site visits to QMAG’s Parkhurst Facility in Rockhampton, QER site visit in Gladstone, Mt Morgan Gold/ Copper Legacy site visit in Mt Morgan, Blackwater Coal Mine site visit in Blackwater, and Sapphire mine visit in Rubyvale.