Challenge Creates Opportunity
Engagement processes are opportunities for companies and stakeholders to enter into meaningful dialogue, exchange information, and create decision-making processes which can lead to innovative solutions to business development challenges. Engaging with multiple stakeholder groups during early stages of exploration differs from simple, project-related information-sharing in that efforts are made to incorporate community input into project design.
An example of this would be inquiring about land uses prior to developing early drilling programs; local people have invaluable local knowledge, including seasonal climatic variations and the cultural significance of land and space. Project planners who engage with local people and empower them to inform the exploration plan based on experiential knowledge will encounter fewer project planning complications. Listening to, learning about, and demonstrating respect for local values is most meaningful when reflected in behaviours. Field teams increase the likelihood of project advancement by acknowledging the importance of expressed community values, modifying behavior accordingly, and manifesting these shifts through avenues such as consideration of alternative project design options.
Engaging with local communities and creating a forum where ideas can germinate often leads to sustainable initiatives that exist beyond the mine’s life cycle. Company-community partnerships are an excellent investment because they strengthen trust and feelings of ownership, and more importantly, because such partnerships support community health and well-being –which can directly, positively impact the stability of mine development.