2.2 Feasibility and planning

Feasibility studies are undertaken once a project has proven to be potentially viable from technical and financial perspectives. Social and political criteria should also be part of a comprehensive feasibility study as they may have a significant bearing on project viability. In addition to socioeconomic due diligence, additional data should be collected to construct a social and cultural baseline and to identify stakeholders. Initial assessments should be made of potential socioeconomic impacts, and stakeholder analysis should inform the feasibility assessment of the socioeconomic environment of the proposed project. The expected costs of socioeconomic impact mitigation plans should be integrated into the feasibility costing process. If the project already exists or has undergone a long period of exploration, an assessment of community relations legacies should be undertaken

Feasibility and planning community engagement and development: example activities

Engage suitable expertise in social baseline data collection and impact assessment, either n-house or as consultants. If project definition activities, baseline data collection and staff movements on the ground are increasing, also increase the number of CROs to ensure that communities can be kept informed of developments. Ensure that contractors adhere to your company's social responsibility guidelines.

increase the degree and scope of interaction between company and community or government representatives. Important opportunities exist for the company to engage with local communities to inform them about possible mine development scenarios and timing. Spend time listening and learning about community priorities, concerns and so on. Keep records of stakeholder engagement activities, matters discussed, concerns raised, commitments made and commitments completed.

The detailed baseline study should include the extensive collection of secondary data and the generation of quantitative and qualitative primary data through household questionnaires, focus group discussions and interviews with key stakeholders. Conduct separate focus groups for women, girls and boys, old people, disabled people and any religious or ethnic minorities in the community. An impact assessment, including the development of impact mitigation plans, should be conducted by a competent professional. Establish a clearer understanding of social, environmental and development needs and costs.

Expectation management will become increasingly important, requiring enhanced and expanded communications activities. Carefully explain the uncertainty of project development. Increase rehabilitation efforts as ground-disturbing activities increase. Increase the budget for community investments.

Expand the set of socioeconomic indicators to be gathered at least annually from the baseline data set. Include gender-specific indicators. Increase monitoring to keep pace with increased company activities, both for feasibility studies for and community investment programs. Review stakeholder engagement documents for community feedback.

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