Informing and consulting communities as early as possible when developing a mining project provides opportunities to improve the project’s viability as well as increase its social acceptance: the case of the Akasaba-West project.


Mr Jean-François Doyon

Until recently, the assessment and development of new mining projects were based primarily on their technical (geology, mining milling), economical and environmental factors. Over the past decade, however, expectations from society has changed and communications are done at very high speed. As a result, the acceptance of a mining project can be questioned socially and collectively even in a mining region like Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Social considerations now have to be identified and considered when acquiring a new mining project or when a new project is being developed. When the social aspects of a mining project are identified as early as possible in the process, a better assessment of environmental and social risks is being made thereby allowing for planning the most appropriate mitigation measures. As a result, the project is improved which increases its social acceptance. Using the Akasaba-West project, this presentation will address the following: • How the social aspects were considered to assess an exploration project before its acquisition; • The communication and consultation processes that were used during the prefeasibility study and while conducting the environmental and social impact assessment; • How the concerns from the surrounding communities were integrated to improve the design of the project and to reduce the major anticipated impacts; • The means used to maintain, from the beginning, the relationship with the surrounding communities; • The efforts that were employed to reach the First Nations and consult with them; • The benefits that this upstream management of social aspects of the project brought to the subsequent official consultation and public hearing processes by government agencies.