Mining and Society
Ever since the Romans developed large-scale mining methods, industrial mining has played a significant role in human society. Millions of people across the world are either employed, or depend, on the mining industry for their livelihood.
Additionally, consumers globally are reliant on the products of mining.
How and what the industry mines is more critical than ever. The Covid-19 crisis, climate change and the 4th industrial revolution bring new challenges to an industry already facing environmental, social, and governance-related concerns.
Responsible mining companies have long recognised the need to go beyond legal and technical compliance to address some of the wider expectations inherent in their “social licence to operate”. This is increasingly becoming a differentiating factor.
Part of mining’s traditional role has been to create jobs for local communities and revenue for host governments. However, stakeholders’ concerns about mining are also global, including climate change and the just energy transition, as well as the threat to traditional mining jobs from automation.
The mining sector has to be able to create and articulate socio-economic and wider UN SDG-type benefits at the local, national and international levels. To do this, mining companies need to have a holistic environmental, social and governance approach in line with international best practice, and be accountable, trustworthy, and work in partnerships.
Civil society has a key role to play in facilitating this process. The faith community particularly has local access and trust where others do not. It is a key partner in facilitating the right dialogue and monitoring outcomes.