Mines need to ensure a positive social and economic impact in their stakeholder communities

Now more than ever, mines need to ensure a positive social and economic impact in their stakeholder communities – and the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) at Wits University is helping operations across Africa to build and develop these skills.

Its five-day course on Socio-Economic Development in Mining Communities – to be held in Johannesburg from 6 to 10 October 2014 – tackles the many difficult issues facing community development practitioners in the mining sector today. Key among these are the principles of good practice in stakeholder engagement, which offer a basis on which mines can construct and participate in a multi-stakeholder process.

The course embraces both the theoretical understanding and the technical capacity of practitioners to design and implement relevant solutions to the demands of modern mining operations.

Focusing on standards and guidelines

Strong focus is placed on the industry’s ‘social license to mine’ and the importance of appropriate interventions through socio-economic development (SED) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes. Course participants explore development models in Africa to gain a better grasp of the sector’s context, and discuss various approaches to current and historical issues.

“We also analyse international standards and guidelines that apply to SED and CSR in mining, to ensure that participants are fully up to date with what is expected by the industry and its stakeholders,” according to CSMI programme manager Nancy Coulson.

“It is important to understand how socio-economic responsibility has recently caught up with the more established focus on environmental protection in the mining industry,” said Coulson. “We track the global trend that has led to CSR becoming a framework for SED programming, and also review CSR and SED policies at international, pan-African, regional and national levels.”

Adding value to training

Innovative teaching methods used by the CSMI in course delivery include the application of templates, case studies and reflections on lessons learned, giving more impact and coherence to learning about site-specific programmes. During the course, participants will critique the parameters of SED and CSR, explore different roles and responsibilities, and construct multi-stakeholder processes applicable to various stages of the mining life-cycle.

Valuable networking and sharing of ideas takes place in this learning environment, as participants include high-level corporate practitioners and postgraduate researchers. This makes for active interchanges based on practical experience, where theory can be interrogated and knowledge gaps identified.

Accredited at NQF Level 9, the Socio-Economic Development in Mining Communities short course is taught at MSc level and can be completed for a certificate of competence or attendance.

To register, contact Salamina Tlhwaele at Wits Enterprise (phone +27 11 717 1188 or email Salamina.Tlhwaele@wits.ac.za), Lileen Lee at the CSMI (phone +27 11 717 7037 or email Lilee.Lee@wits.ac.za) or visit www.csmi.co.za for more information.

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