Mineral Exploration

Winter 2016

Mineral Exploration is the official publication of the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/756078

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Page 66 of 71

W inte r 20 1 6 67 INTEGRATED SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY can cater to local needs and incorporate provisions to accommodate different groups within communities – especially disadvantaged populations such as women, minorities and marginalized groups. A project-level GM also gives the mining company access to important community intelligence, which can assist in identifying and correcting weaknesses in management systems or production processes. Best practices for feedback mechanisms Best practices for project-level GMs include transparency, anonymity, timely feedback and clear documentation. Transparency, anonymity and timely feedback help to build trust between the company and the affected party. Consistently documenting the complaints received will provide the means to track changes, trends and patterns. In addition, effective feedback mechanisms must be accessible (language, literacy and cultural factors do not present a significant impediment), consistent (similar complaints receive similar remedies) and made readily available to the public. Mechanisms should also have multiple channels for community members to voice their concerns (for instance, meetings, a contact person or ombudsperson, or an address or website for written submissions); a system for documentation; a process for acknowledging that a grievance was filed; a direct reporting line that allows senior managers to be kept informed of issues that may pose a risk to the company's project; and a process for obtaining third-party expertise when voluntary agreement or resolution is not achieved. According to the International Finance Corporation's Good Practice Note: Addressing Grievances from Project- Affected Communities, project-level GMs should be built on five principles: 1. Proportionality: GMs should be scaled to risk and the adverse impact on affected communities. 2. Cultural appropriateness: GMs should be designed to take into account culturally appropriate ways of handling community concerns. 3. Accessibility: GMs should be clear and understandable, and available to all segments of the affected communities at no cost. 4. Transparency and accountability to all stakeholders: GMs should be clear and provide a way for the community to hold the company accountable. 5. Appropriate protection: GMs should prevent retribution and should not impede access to other remedies. Continual analysis of community concerns and complaints will help adjust a GM's design, if necessary. Projects should periodically review the adequacy of the grievance process, with the participation of communities, and agree on modifications. GMs should also provide stakeholders with an expected time frame for resolution when they file a complaint. Undoubtedly, most project-level GMs will receive complaints that are inconvenient, inaccurate or falsified. Yet receiving such fraudulent claims does not preclude the fact that there exist serious issues within a company's community of interest. A primary tenet of a well- structured GM is that it must be able to distinguish between valid and invalid claims. A sector-wide analysis by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland found that having those who submit grievances commit to an entire claims process significantly reduces the number of superfluous and false claims made against mining companies. The business case for project-level GMs Recognizing and dealing with affected communities' issues early on can benefit the company by reducing operational and reputational risks that may result from leaving such issues unresolved. These risks can have a significant and direct business impact. Protests, road and bridge blockages, violence, suspension of operations and plant closures are just a few examples of how the unsatisfactory GRIEVANCE MECHANISMS IN ACTION Addressing local concerns in Chapleau Located near Chapleau, Ontario, Goldcorp's Borden project is home to many different communities and stakeholder groups, including the owners of cottages on nearby Borden Lake. The Borden team recognized that the project would bring changes to the area, and that building positive relationships and trust with the local community would be critical to ensuring long-term success. In 2015, the Borden team implemented a grievance mechanism called the Community Feedback Protocol. Based on open communication and systematic response to stakeholders' concerns, the Protocol included frequent visits and dialogue with local stakeholders to better understand the project's local impacts and respond to community concerns. Key concerns identified by locals were the visual and noise impacts related to exploration drilling. Through dialogue with local stakeholders, the Borden team identified several solutions to address some of the impacts, such as sound walls, sound- monitoring equipment and noise-mitigation procedures. The Community Feedback Protocol has been a critical tool to hear and address local stakeholders' concerns, and the Borden project continues to use it as an important engagement and grievance management tool. Trust between local stakeholders and the Borden project team has improved, with the project team successfully completing its 2015 drilling programs. ■

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