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A Perfect Uproar at Pascua- Lama and Canadian Miner Barrick[

Autor:   •  February 4, 2019  •  3,075 Words (13 Pages)  •  63 Views

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“There are rumors that Barrick doesn’t want it to rain, lest contaminants be washed in to the river system – so the company won’t let anyone else have rain either. It’s crazy notion – and low faith in the company and many people in the valley believe it”

The time and energy required to establish a healthy company-community relationship is minimal in comparison to the resources required to repair a relationship once it is damaged. By engaging communities early, and opening the lines of communication, company is better able to identify and address issues before they become serious problems. Proactively sharing information with communities also ensures company doesn’t leave a vacuum to be filled by misinformation about the project, which could create obstacles in the future.

Implications and Recommendations[pic 20]

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Long life mining operations with close by community neighbors require profoundly diverse approach. Mine’s operations have both positive and negative impacts on the people who live in the communities near the mine. When company seeks open, transparent, and respectful relationships with local communities, they improve understanding of local cultures, priorities, and concerns and are in a better position to effectively share the benefits of mining. As such, effectively engaging with local communities is as important to the company as any part of the business and is vital to the success and sustainability of the mining operations. Community engagement, including ongoing dialogue and information sharing, must continue throughout the mining phases and even following mine closure and remediation.

Successful community engagement is purely depended upon the initiative and efforts of highly dedicated individuals. Therefore first recommendation for Barrick is to take adequate steps so that personnel undertaking community engagement activities have a strong understanding of the local and operating context. The following recommendations are proposed for Pascau Lama to build the community engagement with Chile community.

- Position Community Engagement strategically

Management needs to implement Community Relations Management System (CRMS) and provide the site operations with guidance and tools on engagement best practices, so that they can build strong relationships. As community engagement is a dynamic process, the CRMS is designed to enable sites to adjust their approach as local relationships change and evolve over the time. The CRSM need to include:

- Mapping stakeholders and assessing their priorities and concerns

- Establishing a culturally appropriate way for people to communicate directly to the company

- Developing mechanisms for two-way dialogue in order to build trust

- Providing appropriate channels for stakeholders to raise concerns and grievances

- Documenting engagement activities

- Monitor and evaluate stakeholder engagement activities and respond to identified shortcomings.

- Consider Community Agreement with the people in the Valley through more transparent and constructive process. Company needs to be very cautious when they get local government involved in to this process because political agenda may harm the fairness.

- Conduct ‘local induction’ course, which is tailored to local circumstances to employees. The course should be designed and delivered by professional educators with the active involvement of local people. The curriculum for local induction courses should largely be determined by local people based on what is important to them, not outsiders.

- Introduce Community Information Centre

- Partnership with NGO’s for community activities

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Economic Development

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Research suggests that corporate–community conflict often occurs because of the scarcity of local economic opportunities. (Paul, A.H. & Nasser, A.T. (2015) The Determinants of social conflict in the Latin America mining sector: new evidence with quantitative data).

It is clearly mentioned in the Pascau Lama case that “people in the valley were glad to have the new opportunities that might come with the mine –but not at the cost of their current way of life, or their water. They are not interested in mining and prefer to work their land”. It is imperative that company believes mere offer of employment to the local community and “outreach” programs such as donations and scholarships through local government, water infrastructure, building roads and dam and various CSR projects, play major role in economic development of the area. However below community grievances clearly indicate how the community perceives the company’s efforts towards the economic development.

“Water infrastructure project initiated by Barrick turned out to be deal with only big producers and small time farmers were excluded”

“Community projects such as building roads and dam are much greater value to the industrial farmers than they are to the small time farmers”

“The head of the government in the area, has overseen the distribution of Barrick’s CSR spending”

“The religious leader in the community says: there is a lot of injustice and mining industry is the root cause of the inequality”

“People believed that municipality and valley’s most powerful farmer were allied with Barrick for financial benefits and major portion of company’s spending has been enjoyed by few people”

The inequality in spending (injustice) across the community seems to be critical issue, which persists throughout the project. The company’s approach to interact with local government for economic activities in the region is controversial and incomprehensible. Due to the complex nature of government’s role in both facilitating and managing mining activities, the general public and interest groups closely scrutinize their activities. When they perceive that government fails to play fair role, public responds with strong objection. The situation aggravates if corruption is involved.

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