Most mining impacts and challenges are local and occur at site level. Two recently developed tools are being used to enable collaborative impact monitoring and engagement with mining companies at mine-site level.
These tools and their use were expounded upon during the Responsible Mining Foundation (RMF) and ETH-NADEL Centre for Development and Cooperation’s ‘Responsible mining on the ground’ webinar, held on July 13.
The first of these tools is ETH-NADEL’s recently launched Resource Impact Dashboard (RID) – a policy instrument that enables stakeholders to monitor the effects of resource extraction on local development at the mine site level, based on data from household surveys, public sources and mining companies.
Outlining the tool, ETH-NADAL researcher Felicitas Fischer said it provides a comprehensive view of the development, as well as the triangulation of data from stakeholders.
That engenders a nuanced picture of the development, allows common ground to be found between stakeholders, enables constructive dialogue and allows for evidence-based policy-making, she noted.
She added that the platform provides balanced accounts of the impacts of projects and where there is potential for conflicts.
Moreover, it provides a basis for constructive dialogue among stakeholders.
Université Lúrio (University in Mozambique) associate professor João Salavessa also spoke about soft implementation of the RID at mining sites, noting that, overall, it provided positive feedback as a simple-to-use tool that was able to provide greater clarity and availability of relevant information feeding valuable data to all stakeholders.
Supplementing the RID is the RMF’s Mine Site Assessment Tool (MSAT), which was publicly launched last year.
The MSAT is an engagement tool designed by and for local stakeholders. It has been actively used in several countries, including Ghana, where it has recorded marked successes.
RMF stakeholder engagement head Pierre De Pasquale explained that the tool makes use of a questionnaire with a set of simple questions, with only yes or no as a response, that covers 15 topics.
Topics include air quality, water quality, rehabilitation and post closure, tailings, safety of communities, community complaints and grievances, safety and health of workers, women workers, workplace deaths and injuries, training of workers, decent living wage, and worker complaints and grievances.
Pasquale said the tool was created following requests and inputs from mining-affected communities, mineworkers and trade unions, with the RMF providing assistance and allowing these stakeholders to develop what they needed.
That resulted in a tool that enables stakeholders to enter into dialogue with mining companies on some of the matters that directly affect them in and around a mine, he said.
The tool was designed by and for local actors, with pilot countries being South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Rwanda.
Pasquale said that, for communities and workers, the tool can be used to raise awareness about the basics of responsible mining; start a constructive dialogue with the operator; identify gaps and measure improvement; and do a survey to compare different sites.
For mining operators and cooperatives, the tool can be used to self-assess against the basics of responsible mining; identify and measure improvements; help in formalising site-level reasonable practices; and constructive engagement with communities and workers.
Ultimately, for all of these stakeholders, the tool and these uses are aimed at preventing harm and building trust.
Pasquale said the RID provides a baseline for constructive dialogue and understanding of the context and exposure to risk, while the MSAT complements that by being used as the next step, when engaging and building on the baseline to address different issues.