Community and stakeholder engagement is critical to a sustainable resources industry in South Australia. Our resources companies understand the need to act in a socially responsible way - often referred to as a ‘social licence to operate'.
The South Australian resources industry has taken a lead in responding to growing expectations from community, regulators and industry leaders for pro-active, open and consultative stakeholder engagement. With exploration and mining activities expanding into areas closer to town settlements and onto farming land, the need for harmonious shared land use has increased and optimal community engagement is now one of the industry’s highest priorities.
SACOME recognises that this movement into communities can bring challenges, and provides tools for members such as the Code of Practice for Community & Stakeholder Engagement and the Code of Conduct for Mineral & Energy Explorers. These publications are comprehensive guides to building effective relationships with communities and were established through extensive consultation and input from industry companies, external consultants, relevant government departments and agricultural bodies such as Primary Producers SA.
Effectively engaging with stakeholders who are either directly or indirectly impacted by mining or energy projects is an important element in the regulatory approvals process and of paramount importance to companies looking to gain community support, establish themselves within a community and maximise their economic opportunities.
Together with providing tools and support for companies, all of SACOME’s activities are guided by a strong community focus, an awareness of the need to improve public understanding of the industry, and an in-depth knowledge of the complexities involved in shared land use.
This community focus directs our activities particularly in regards to:
- Our involvement on external committees and working groups
- Our participation in community events - such as careers and educational events and regional field days
- Our submissions and policy recommendations
- Our own events including seminars and workshops
- Our media liaison and articles for external publications and our own SA Mines & Energy Journal
Community engagement workshops and seminars
SACOME has held a variety of workshops and seminars on the topic of community engagement and landholder relations.
The presentations from one of these are provided below. This seminar, held in late 2012, involved speakers from the South Australian Government, Community Engagement Group Australia (CEGA), REX Minerals and SACOME. Members were briefed on key aspects underpinning successful Community & Stakeholder engagement from a variety of perspectives.
SACOME Code of Practice for Community and Stakeholder Engagement
The SACOME Code of Practice for Community and Stakeholder Engagement was developed in partnership with the Department for State Development and Community Engagement Group Australia, based upon universally recognised documents from organisations such as the Minerals Council of Australia and the International Association for Public Participation.
The Code outlines a framework and principles to assist companies develop their community engagement strategy and incorporate community –based initiatives into their project strategy; it is not a prescriptive document and serves no regulatory function.
SACOME strongly encourages all industry members to sign up to the Code. It is an effective means for building community relationships and a valuable tool for SACOME members to demonstrate their commitment to community and stakeholder relations. A logo has been created for signatories to display on their websites and communications material, communicating their affiliation with the Code and their commitment to best practice community engagement.
SACOME Code of Conduct for Mineral & Energy Explorers
SACOME has established a Code of Conduct for Mineral & Energy Explorers, with endorsement from Primary Producers South Australia.
The Code of Conduct is designed to provide a framework for mineral and energy explorers accessing rural land and to facilitate dialogue between explorers and landholders in conformity with the Mining Act and the Petroleum & Geothermal Act.
Enduring Value: The Australian Minerals Industry Framework for Sustainable Development (currently under review) - http://www.minerals.org.au/focus/sustainable_development/enduring_value
Ministerial Council on Mineral and Petroleum Resources - Principles for Engagement with Communities and Stakeholders
e3Plus - A Framework for Responsible Exploration - http://www.pdac.ca/e3plus/index.aspx
The following presentations are from the SACOME Community Engagement Workshop held on 15 August 2008.
NOTE: These presentations have been kindly provided to SACOME for display on our website, however please do not reproduce, alter, or publish without permission of the authors.
Indigenous Community Consultation During Exploration - Mithril Resources
Engaging with an Urban Community from Exploration to Production - Hillgrove Resources
Community Engagement - The Way Forward by Ross Sawers - OZ Minerals
Community Engagement Presented by Gerard Bosch - Australian Zircon
A Read Reckoner - Benefits and Costs of Community Engagement Presented by Prof Barry Burgan - University of Adelaide
Community and stakeholder engagement is a critical pillar for the sustainability of the resources industry in South Australia. Resources companies understand the need to act in a socially responsible way - often referred to as 'the social licence to operate' - and use tools such as the SACOME Code of Practice for Community & Stakeholder Engagement as a guide to build relationships with the communities in which they operate.
There are many examples of SACOME member companies who constantly consult with the community before, during and after a mining operation, which assists with the day-to-day running of the mine and often results in the innovation of new technologies to address any concerns raised. Below are some case studies canvassing the different approaches in which companies have made towards community and stakeholder engagement.