How should mining companies invest in social capital during economic downturns?
For the past three years, I have been one of the instructors in the Advanced Social Management Program for AngloAmerican Corporation, a major global mining company. The program is managed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and involves two separate intensive masterclasses in South Africa and Chile and a six month group project period in between.
The project group whom I tutored this year, prepared a very timely report on how the mining industry should manage their social investment during downturn in commodity prices. This is a serious issue in cases where communities become dependent on mineral investment for employment or business clientele. The following article summarizes some of the key findings of this report based on interviews and literature research undertaken by the group.
The authors of the report were all staff from AngloAmerican (and subsidiary companies such as DeBeers): Mia Gous (Chile), Nerys John (DeBeers – London), Carolina Manfrin (Brazil), Lynda Pollock (Australia), Adriana Rodrigues (Brazil), Juan Carlos Roman (Chile), Daphney Tshehla (South Africa)
The challenges in mining, as a resource extraction industry, are not only those imposed by the market (technology improvement to reach better productivity reducing costs and therefore maintaining/increasing profitability), but also extended to the environmental and social aspects of the communities impacted by its activity. Establishing a mining project can take billions of dollars but also several years of investment in community engagement and building trust with communities. During commodity downturns the trust established with communities —> Read More