HOW MEANINGFUL IS COMMUNITY CONSULTATION?
Genuine consultation with communities is fundamental to ensure that mining contributes to sustainable development.
Ensuring genuine consultation and negotiations with communities is critical to securing the legitimacy of any mining project. Corruption undermines the credibility of the consultation process, the resulting agreements and, by extension, a company’s social licence to operate. It can increase conflict between the community and the mining operator, leading to major disruptions to mining activities.
As the Accountable Mining Programme’s global research has found,
- when consultation only occurs with elites who do not necessarily represent the community’s interests, leaders can take advantage of negotiations for their own personal gain.
- When the negotiation process is not transparent, and agreements are not published, it is difficult to detect whether negotiations have been manipulated and hold the decision-makers to account
- If there are no clear or binding requirements for community consultation (or they are not enforced), this opens the door for the duty to consult to be ignored or undertaken superficially.