2.4 Construction

The construction phase of a mining or metals project does not usually last long (perhaps one or two years), but it is a time of intense activity and often introduces a workforce that is large, temporary, or both. Much of the construction activity will take place within the mine lease boundary, but there is usually also a good deal of additional construction of infrastructure such as roads, airstrips, powerlines and water pipelines, some or all of which may be close to where people live and work. Physical construction impacts tend to be associated with the nuisance of increased traffic, dust, noise and light pollution, all of which can be annoying to neighbours.

Economic impacts can be beneficial, such as when the increase of business due to the additional workers gives a boost to the local economy. They may also be negative, as demand may lead to inflation, raising prices for existing residents and pressure on local services, diminishing the quality of life for local community members. Mining project managers need to be aware of these impacts of construction and take measures to mitigate them. The most appropriate forms of mitigation can be determined collaboratively when engaging with local communities.

Construction community engagement and development: example activities

Additional community relations staff will be needed to undertake intensive community engagement activities, as the disturbances created by construction invariably lead to heightened community relations interactions. Depending on the size of the project and its impacts, professionals may need to be hired to assess construction impacts and plan mitigation management activities, either as staff or as consultants. Impact mitigation plans and measures should be in place before major disruptive activities begin. All staff who interact with community members should receive cultural awareness training. All contractors, whether for construction or other work, must be contractually bound to follow the lead company's social responsibility procedures and guidelines.

Organise an intensive communications and consultation program to enable communities and stakeholders to understand what will happen during construction. All sectors of the community should be included in consultations, including women, youth, the elderly and the disabled Establishing a shopfront to provide information in a local town can be helpful for exchanges of information. Special compensation programs may need to be implemented for the temporary impacts of construction. An accessible complaints procedure will need to be established and functioning

Engage qualified practitioners to undertake a comprehensive social impact assessment, if needed, depending on local laws and expectations and the expected degree of impacts. Conduct additional baseline studies if needed, such as community health and cultural heritage studies. Conduct a comprehensive stakeholder identification and analysis exercise. Ensure that all studies and assessments take specific account of women, children, the elderly and the disabled and the different impacts that they may experience.

Design detailed management plans and social responsibility guidelines and procedures for project impacts identified by the impact assessments. Take into account differing impacts on women, children, old people, disabled people and minority groups. Managing the impacts of the temporary but highly disruptive construction period, by communications and compensation, is very labour intensive but crucial to future good relations. Impact mitigation plans need to be in place before construction begins. Ensure that construction workers follow the company's social responsibility guidelines.

Select a comprehensive set of socioeconomic indicators as the basis for monitoring and evaluation. Disaggregate data by gender where possible.

Share this Page