6.0 Glossary of terms and techniques

ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

A systematic process for continually improving management policies and practices by earning from the outcomes of operational programs. The ICMM Good Practice Guidance on Mining and Biodiversity refers to adaptive management as ‘do-monitor-evaluate-revise’

BRIEFINGS

A way of informing and learning from others. Regular briefings of stakeholder groups, such as the local media, government personnel, Indigenous leaders and employees, are an important way of disseminating information. Presentations should be tailored to meet the information needs of each group. Translating information into other languages may also be necessary in some cases; for example, when communicating with traditional Aboriginal communities

COLLABORATION

Working together to share expertise and ownership of outcomes; joint engagement in projects and activities

COMMUNITY

A term with many definitions. In the mining industry, it is generally applied to the inhabitants of immediate and surrounding areas who are affected by a company’s activities ‘Local community’ usually indicates a community in which operations are located and may include Indigenous or non-Indigenous people. ‘Host community’ is sometimes used to place emphasis on the fact that it is the community that accommodates or ‘hosts’ a company’s operation until resources are depleted

COMMUNITY LIAISON AND ADVISORY GROUPS

Groups established specifically for the mining project. They can help the operation focus its engagement program. Groups can cover general matters or be focused on a particular aspect (establishing a community funds foundation, planning mine closure, rehabilitation) The success of the groups will depend heavily on how they are structured and whether their role is clearly defined and understood

CONSULTATION

The act of providing information or advice on, and seeking responses to, an actual or proposed event, activity or process

CONSULTATION FATIGUE

Can occur when there are frequent or overlapping consultation initiatives in a community, either by different areas of the same company or operation, or by a different organisation, including government agencies

CONTACT POINTS

Often, 24-hour telephone lines for providing information to the company and as a method for recording complaints and issues

DEVELOPMENT

Includes economic, social and cultural development—that is, all aspects of human life and wellbeing. Community development is the process whereby people increase the strength and effectiveness of their communities, improve their quality of life, and enable themselves and others to participate meaningfully in decision-making and achieve greater long-term control over their lives

DIRECT MAILAND NEWSLETTERS

Effective means for informing specific people about the project, including how the company is responding to community concerns. Correspondence may be personalised with supporting information, or it may be a regular newsletter describing community activities that the company is involved in

ENGAGEMENT

At its simplest, communicating effectively with the people who affect and are affected by a company’s activities (its stakeholders). A good engagement process typically involves identifying and prioritising stakeholders, conducting a dialogue with them to understand their interest in an issue and any concerns they have, exploring with them ways to address those issues, and providing feedback to stakeholders on actions taken. At a more complex level, engagement is a means of negotiating agreed outcomes over issues of concern or mutual interest

EMPLOYEE INTERACTION

A valuable resource for understanding community concerns and issues. Employees are also some of the most important ambassadors of the company and need to be engaged with in a variety of ways, from toolbox talks to more structured employee forums

INFORMAL ENGAGEMENT PROCESSES: ONE-ON-ONE IMPROMPTU DISCUSSIONS AND INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS

Important for forming and maintaining relationships, understanding personal perspectives and gaining an appreciation of general community sentiment. Valuable information can be obtained from informal interaction with community members. However, companies need to recognise that informal engagement with just a few individuals may be perceived as favouring the views of particular individuals. In such circumstances, there may be greater benefit in first establishing open, transparent and public forms of engagement

OPEN DAYS AND SITE VISITS

A valuable mechanism for keeping the community and families of employees up to date about the operation and how it is being managed. Such events also provide an opportunity to hear about community concerns and issues. Site visits for particular stakeholder groups are a more focused and targeted option and can often demystify what happens at a project

PUBLIC DISPLAYS

Posters and models of proposed operations displayed in public places, such as retail centres, councils and local fairs. They can expose the project to many people and raise public interest in it. Mobile displays can be used in remote locations. Feedback should always be sought

PUBLIC MEETINGS

May be useful in smaller communities; however, they require careful organisation, usually with a skilled facilitator, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to voice concerns and interests

RESEARCH

Whether done directly by the company or operation or commissioned from a third party, can provide valuable information about community needs and perceptions about the facility, A range of research methods may be used, from surveys and focus groups to interviews

SCHEDULED PERSONAL VISITS

A valuable tool for establishing personal rapport. Face-to-face discussions with key individuals, such as fenceline neighbours, can reveal issues and opinions

SOCIAL LICENCE TO OPERATE

The recognition and acceptance of a company’s contribution to the community in which it operates, moving beyond meeting basic legal requirements towards developing and maintaining the constructive stakeholder relationships necessary for business to be sustainable. Overall, it comes from striving for relationships based on honesty and mutual respect

STAFF VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP OF COMMUNITY GROUPS AND COMMITTEES

Can develop links between mining operations and other community groups. This can aid community understanding about the project, and help the project understand more about community priorities and sentiments about the operation

VISITORS CENTRE

Can provide the local community with easy access to information about the operation, and can also serve as a venue to hold community meetings or briefings

WEBSITES

Effective for providing general information about the project and real-time updates on activities and progress. Some stakeholders may prefer the option of engaging through this technology or at least to have the option of gaining information this way.

WORKSHOPS AND FOCUS GROUPS

Enable company personnel to work with a variety of stakeholders to brainstorm solutions to issues raised by the community that may not have been adequately considered in project design

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