Reflections on engagement from a community liaison committee for a zinc mine in rural South Australia

Reflections on engagement from a community liaison committee for a zinc mine in rural South Australia Journal Article

The Extractive Industries and Society

  • Author(s): Mitchell, Alexandra C., Styan, Craig A.
  • Published: 2019
  • Edition: 2019/03/28/
  • ISBN: 2214-790X

Abstract: Conflicts between mining operators and local communities often stem from the latter feeling excluded from decision-making processes. Consequently, regulators sometimes commission a representative consultative group to facilitate interactions among the wider community, miners and regulators. The realised effectiveness of this sort of representative group, however, has rarely been assessed from the perspectives of community participants. We interviewed members of a long running consultative committee for a zinc mine in rural South Australia. Initially, the town’s inexperience with mining meant many held negative views about potential environmental impacts of mining. Those fears were allayed as the mine developed and the committee felt they better understood and could question the mine’s technical operations. Over time, the committee felt their input led to significant changes in a range of mine operations and, while perceiving their committee’s role differently, all thought it effective and strengthened their relationship with the mine operator and regulators. Nonetheless, some negative interactions from the initial stages of engagement have lingered. We conclude that if community trust is gained by operators and efforts are made to help communities understand mining, then consultative committees can play a central role in ensuring that people do not feel disenfranchised by mining operations.

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Suggested Citation
Mitchell, Alexandra C., Styan, Craig A., 2019, Reflections on engagement from a community liaison committee for a zinc mine in rural South Australia, Edition:2019/03/28/, Journal Article, viewed 15 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14900.

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