Earning a social licence to operate: Social acceptability and resource development in Latin America

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 93, No. 1037, 2000

S. Joyce, Golder Associates, Calgary, Alberta I. Thomson, Consultant, Vancouver, British Columbia

In the 1970s, environmental concerns and associated liabilities were a new and unknown aspect of corporate risk. Today, social concerns and the associated conflicts that they can generate constitute a rapidly expanding aspect of risk. Although not a new phenomena Ñ the Bougainville copper mine was forced into closure in 1988 Ñ social risk has emerged as considerably more important, and increasingly visible, in the last few years. Social risk is now an aspect of all mining activities which needs to be calculated into project assessments, and to be managed throughout the life of a project. While social risk has a number of aspects at the corporate level, such as company image and shareholder relations, at the level of the individual project, its primary component is social acceptability, and the principal tool for managing it is the Social Licence to Operate.
Keywords: Public affairs, Resource development, Sustainable development, Latin America, Social concerns.