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Over 500 delegates attended the first Srmining Seminar


SRMINING Seminar, held in Santiago on 19-21 October 2011, received an astonishing response from the international mining community gathering over 500 delegates from 32 countries.

Securing local community acceptance is one of the keys to a successful mining project.  Historically, mining companies and governments assumed that most communities would welcome the jobs and economic activity that large projects generate, but experience around the world demonstrates this to no longer be the case. Environmental concerns, conflicts over land and water use, low levels of trust in companies and political

institutions,  heightened awareness of the rights of indigenous communities, increased scrutiny by civil society and international organisations, and greater connectedness between the opponents of mining all mean that companies can no longer afford to take for granted their ‘social licence to operate’.

Leading mining companies have responded to these challenges by embracing the language of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development and by re-engineering internal management systems in an effort to improve social performance ‘on the ground’.  However, this is still very much work-in-progress. Much remains to be done to build understanding within the industry about how mining can impact —both positively and negatively— on communities, and to develop the organisational capacity required to engage effectively with communities and to deliver on organisational policy commitments.

It is against this background that Gecamin, Chile, and Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining of the Sustainable Minerals Institute of the University of Queensland, Australia, convened the first SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN MINING 2011 SEMINAR.  There is now a substantial, and growing, body of applied research focused on the social challenges faced by the global mining industry and on equipping the industry to better deal with these challenges. In addition, industry practitioners have much to share in terms of their on-the-ground learnings and experiences. By bringing researchers and practitioners together, the Seminar provided a unique opportunity for knowledge exchange and the building of a professional practice network in this critically important area.

“I am very happy and flattered that this seminar is being held in Chile. As a Chairman I feel that it is a great honour to be here and give the opening speech”, commented SRMINING Chair and Executive President of the Antofagasta Mineral Group, Marcelo Awad.

Over 100 presentations and a discussion panel analysed diverse issues which sought to strengthen the understanding of the concept of ‘social licence’, and promote social responsibility as an integral part of strategic planning and management.

“Today getting the social licence to operate is no longer an option: it is something that just has to be done. So, if a company thinks that its programme of corporate social responsibility is something trendy or non-essential, in this world they will not be able to get their social licence to operate”, explained Allison Coppel, Social Responsibility Manager at Teck Chile, who presented a paper and also taught a short course on Mining and Local Economic Development.

Programme closed with a visit to the Sewell mining town which was the Seminar grand finale, and, in the words of the content participants “came at the right time”.

Once again, we thank everyone who supported this initiative and we look forward to seeing you in 2013. Please check this website for updates.

 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
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