Understanding the social licence to operate of mining at the national scale: A comparative study of Australia, China and Chile
Journal of Cleaner Production
Zhang, A., Moffat, K., Lacey, J., Wang, J., González, R., Uribe, K., .Cui, L., Dai, Y.
Obtaining and maintaining a social licence to operate is a major challenge for the mining industry around the world. This study examines how the public’s perceptions of the distributional fairness of the benefits of mining, procedural fairness in the interactions between the mining industry and society, and confidence in the governance arrangements surrounding the industry affect the public’s trust in the mining industry and, in turn, their acceptance of mining activities at a national scale. The aim of this study was also to understand how the contexts in which mining companies operate influence the public’s perceptions of and attitudes toward mining. To this end, large-scale national surveys were conducted in Australia (N = 5121), China (N = 5122), and Chile (N = 1598). The results reveal that the key predictors of the public’s acceptance of the mining industry were found to be relatively low across all three countries. In addition, distributional fairness, procedural fairness, and confidence in governance were all found to affect acceptance of mining, both directly and indirectly, by influencing the level of public trust in the mining industry. The findings also reveal that each of these three elements predicted trust and acceptance to varying degrees across the three countries. This suggests that the different elements are variously important to the public in accepting mining activities in their own contextual landscapes, highlighting that acceptance of mining is highly context dependent. The relatively low public perceptions of the three key predictors further suggest that in order to achieve a more socially sustainable mining industry where social conflict around mining operations is minimised and the public is able to experience the benefits of resource development, both the mining industry and governments may need to review their own methods of engaging with citizens to build trust in those stakeholder relationships.
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Zhang, A., Moffat, K., Lacey, J., Wang, J., González, R., Uribe, K., .Cui, L., Dai, Y. (2015). Understanding the social licence to operate of mining at the national scale: A comparative study of Australia, China and Chile. Journal of Cleaner Production, 108(Part A), 1063-1072. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.07.097