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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Healthy mining communities : the interdependency of companies and communities Anderson, Rowena Rae

Abstract

The mineral industry and its communities are linked in their mutual interdependence. The industry needs the community's cooperation in order to avoid costly delays and perhaps, poor publicity and working relationships. The community needs to work with the mine to ensure that their concerns are heard and that the social and environmental effects of mining are minimized. This thesis explores consensus based (roundtable) approaches as a framework for cooperation. The characteristics of a healthy community based upon the "healthy communities" model are explored for their use as a visionary tool and the presence of a mediator at these meetings is evaluated. The community of Kimberley, British Columbia and the Sullivan Mine with the formation of the Sullivan Public Liaison Committee (SPLC) offers one example of a mine-community consultation process. The committee has met over twenty times since its creation in 1991. This thesis explores the lessons learned from this particular process as well as others with the goal of strengthening mine-community relationships. A detailed literature review and personal interviews with both committee members and the general public were completed with the objective of evaluating the performance of this form of communication and consultation within a Canadian mining community. Findings show that the SPLC is an effective process but could be improved in a few areas. Areas of weakness include lack of committee input into the design phase of the process, a lack of vision by the committee, parties leaving the process, and the absence of a trained mediator. Lastly, it offers an approach for future community relations within the mineral industry that would work towards building consensus for all parties involved. Further research is suggested, in particular detailed research of other committees within the mineral industry, the economic analysis of the costs involved with running a community relations program, and the implementation of a new community relations program within the industry based upon the framework recommended by this research.

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