The Social License to Operate (SLO) is a multidisciplinary process addressing the relationship between community and business in the high-impact industry of mining. SLO refers to a local or regional community’s acceptance of a mining project, beyond formal regulatory permitting processes, and it assumes that stakeholders may be opposed to the project’s legitimacy and ability to operate. Therefore, from a mining company perspective, obtaining such social acceptance is crucial for reducing the risk of delays or even project cancellation. Since the SLO processes are multidimensional and cover environmental, social, political, legal, and business aspects, various actors should also be engaged, including mining companies, consulting agencies, non-governmental organisations, research institutes or universities. In Europe, the SLO process is at its maturation stage and needs to be tailored to the European experience.
This short course aims at explaining the basics of SLO as well as related challenges and opportunities. It will start explaining terminology, key stakeholders, and their perspectives. The toolbox developed within the MIREU project (which aims to establish a network of mining and metallurgy regions) will be presented. The course will explore the community dimension of SLO, as analysed by MineFacts, an EIT RawMaterials funded project targeting municipal authorities and communities living in Swedish and Finnish mining regions. The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) perspective will also be analysed by discussing their role at various stages of SLO processes. Furthermore, the business perspective will be explained, especially the organisational and financial aspects of SLO in mining companies. Finally, the industrial view will be presented together with case studies of mining operations in Serbia and Greece.
The course will consist of lectures and engaging activities conducted by experts representing universities, industry, business, research institutes, and NGOs.
Following successful completion of the course, participants will know how to: