[How-to] Effectively Engage in Community Relations
Maintaining healthy relationships has never been more apparent then in the mining industry. With the majority of operations consisting in foreign lands, the need for mining companies to keep continuous rapport with local communities is imperative for success.
A study by the University of Queensland recently concluded the costs associated with protests can result in $20 million a week in delayed production. The author of the report goes on to assert a community conflict has the capability of costing a company $100 million a year.
The cold hard truth is community relationships matter.
To avoid losses, mining companies must find ways to not only engage with local communities but be proactive.
According to the Ontario Mining Association, companies can harvest healthy relationships by having open dialogue to address concerns and questions.
“This approach builds understanding and trust, while helping to identify opportunities for making a positive difference in people’s lives,” the OMA website states. “The key is to improve socio-economic circumstances and stimulate a diversified local economy that will flourish throughout the life of the mine and well beyond.”
Anglo American for example, one of the largest mining companies in the world, has been wildly successful in engaging in communities. The company’s enterprise development programs have supported more than 48,000 SMES, 76,000 jobs and invested more than $100 million into communities in which they work in.
To cultivate relationships, mining companies must work with surrounding areas to provide jobs and enable income creation as well as possibly investing in infrastructure, education, vocational training, health care, cultural programs and environmental initiatives.
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