Latest Publications

08/2017

This report was supported by research funds provided by The University of Queensland’s Vice Chancellor’s strategic fund, core operating funds from the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and pooled contributions of five mining companies: Anglo American, Newcrest, Newmont, MMG and Rio Tinto. These parties participate in the Mining, Resettlement and Livelihoods: Research and Practice Consortium, which is hosted by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), part of the SMI.

The primary aim of the report is to understand the mechanisms and instruments that governments are using to manage resettlement risks in the mining sector. Key findings show that the existing international standards have been unevenly incorporated into national frameworks. The study authors compare legally binding instruments related to mining induced displacement and resettlement (MIDR) across six mining jurisdictions – Botswana, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Papua New Guinea and Peru – and benchmark these against requirements from the international lender community. Examining the extent to which national-level systems are responding to pressure from the international lender community is important for two reasons: first, these developments indicate the level of alignment between lenders and sovereign governments on the importance of codifying safeguard standards and procedures into national law and regulation; and second, the extent to which national-level instruments align with global safeguard frameworks provides valuable insight into the likely difficulties that lenders, companies, governments and local citizens will face when negotiating how resettlement events are designed, planned, and implemented.

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06/2017

In-migration associated with economic opportunity, or project-induced in-migration, is a common phenomenon. This same phenomenon can also negatively affect the project area and host communities, especially with regards to environmental, social and health issues. These negative effects can in turn create social and business risks that jeopardise operations and social stability. A thorough understanding and management of in-migration is necessary to minimise harm, create a stable environment that supports business, and enable social and economic development.

This CSRM report presents the first global study of the management of project-induced in-migration at large-scale mining projects. It draws upon a review of available in-migration management plans and interviews with industry practitioners, and describes the current knowledge base within the mining industry, which is limited and incomplete. The report includes a series of recommendations for improved practice, and a check-list of key considerations for managing in-migration for operations facing this complex phenomenon. In the process of conducting this study, we have been able to draw out important linkages with other legacy generating activities, such as resettlement and mine closure. The study was seed funded by Rio Tinto, with further in-kind support from the SMI and UQ to complete the report.

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05/2017

The number and use of sustainability certification schemes (schemes1) are rapidly increasing, but doubt still persists about their real contributions. This research report aims to explore the impacts of sustainability certification schemes on the ground by undertaking two exploratory case studies based on qualitative information. The aim of the case studies is not to undertake a comparative analysis of the performance of the case studies but to identify impacts of two selected certification schemes, considering participants’ points of view. Also, analysis is conducted to assess whether different design characteristics of schemes lead to better outcomes. This report represents the third stage of an applied research project looking into the effectiveness of sustainability certification schemes and standards in the minerals industry and the potential role these initiatives can play to improve standards for responsible mining.

Impact evaluation studies on sustainability certification schemes are important instruments not only to add to the growing body of knowledge on the impacts of such schemes, but to address current questions about the effectiveness of such initiatives in delivering positive outcomes. Although there is a consensus among different stakeholders, including standard-setting bodies, governments and civil society representatives, about the importance and need of impact evaluation studies on sustainability standard systems, at the moment substantial knowledge and evidence gaps still persist, especially in the mineral and mining sectors.

This report aims to fill these gaps by exploring participants’ perceptions regarding the impacts of two selected sustainability certification schemes in mining – the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) and the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). The analysis presented in this report is based only on information obtained from a qualitative research approach and provided by participants interviewed during the two case studies.

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05/2017

The project aims to assist civil society, business and governments to better co-ordinate and align efforts to ensure that their sustainability initiatives lead to improvements in the sustainability performance of the sector. A conceptual framework is outlined to identify different aspects of interoperability in the context of sustainability initiatives. ‘Collaboration’ describes the activity of stakeholders from different sustainability initiatives working together towards common goals. ‘Harmonisation’ refers to the alignment of texts to adopt similar language across different sustainability standards, eliminating major differences and creating common minimum requirements. ‘Cross-referencing’ is when a sustainability standard refers to and accepts provisions of another standard as its own. ‘Shared process’ is the mechanisms which sustainability standards are able to operate jointly, for example, by joint auditing and other assurance processes. A sample of 18 initiatives is mapped according to (1) type of initiative; (2) thematic scope; (3) assurance process; and (4) sanctions for non- compliance. Two case studies are then presented to explore examples of interoperability in greater depth.

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05/2017

Agreements form the basis of an ongoing relationship between mining companies and native title parties around a range of issues. The management of agreements through structures and processes established for implementation is referred to as agreement governance. This report identifies features of the governance arrangements established by the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA). It draws lessons about how these have influenced the achievement of mutually desired outcomes and impacted on long-term sustainability of relationships.

The GCA of 1997 establishes land use and benefit sharing arrangements in the lower Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland, Australia between Century Zinc Mine, the Queensland Government and three native title groups (Waanyi, Mingginda and Gkuthaarn-Kukatj – the latter considering themselves one People with shared responsibility for looking after their land and saltwater Country although having two sets of clan ancestors). This involvement of multiple native title groups is one distinctive feature of the GCA. As well, it was the first agreement negotiated with native title claimants in advance of a determination of the relevant native title claims; and it included the Queensland Government as a party, and had a regional and community scope of benefits.

The signatories to the GCA exhibited considerable goodwill and high hopes that the agreement would ensure mining benefitted the whole lower Gulf region, facilitate opportunities for economic participation and self-determination for the native title groups (NTGs) and local Aboriginal communities, and leverage government initiatives to advance the socio-economic status of the region.

Through successive owners, the GCA facilitated mining for 16 years and annual compensation payments to NTGs for 20 years. Other opportunities realised through the GCA and its governance arrangements include significant outcomes in the areas of employment and training, expansion of the Indigenous land estate in the region and operation of a number of viable Indigenous businesses including a multi-million dollar pastoral enterprise. However, the wisdom of hindsight is often informed by examining challenges confronted as much as by celebrating achievements.

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