Building durable relationships When Hillgrove Resources sought approval to redevelop the old Kanmantoo Copper Mine back in 2007, it prompted the establishment of widespread community engagement. From here the Kanmantoo Callington Community Consultative Committee (KCCCC) was born. By Yelena Koerner-Heinjus
ince its inception, the KCCCC has developed into one of South Australia’s leading practice examples of effective and meaningful community engagement within the resources industry. Hillgrove Resources prides itself on holding a vision to “…operate in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner with minimal impact to the community”. With this vision in mind, Hillgrove began consulting with key stakeholders and the wider community five years prior to operation as an initial step in the approvals’ process. Hillgrove acknowledged early on that the proximity of the mine to the local community generated some considerable social operating challenges in regards to dust, noise, light spill and vibration. The KCCCC as a platform to work with the surrounding communities and key stakeholders in regards to these social operating challenges, and to promote the social benefits that have been developed as a result of the operation of the mine. The KCCCC includes representatives from the local community with various interests like local residents and nearby landowners, those with a keen interest and knowledge of the environment and local history and those with a role in community life like local schooling.
ISSUE 05 RESOURCING SA Summer 2016
The KCCCC also has representatives from the Mining Regulator, the local Council and of course Hillgrove itself. This group provides opportunities for the whole community to be involved through regular public meetings, site visits and special working party activities. A key to the effectiveness of this community engagement is growing an understanding and acceptance of the diversity of opinion within any community and listening to and respecting the various ideas, comments, suggestions and other input provided by each of these individuals and groups. The KCCCC has taken particular care to identify the expectations of the community as well as the compliance obligations that the Mining Regulator imposes on the company. The willingness of the company to address any gap between what it has to do for compliance and what the community sees as reasonable is what can be described as leading practice. Catherine Davis, Environment Manager for the Kanmantoo Copper Mine says that perceptions the community held about the mine completely changed once the mine was operational. “There wasn’t a proper understanding of the full impact that things such as noise and dust
would have. Although these levels were within our statutory limits, the community perception was that these levels should be lower,” she says. In response to this, the KCCCC and Hillgrove focussed on improving the effectiveness of the community engagement. Steve McClare, CEO and MD of Hillgrove says that Hillgrove aims to be an open and honest organisation with the community to ensure that we are the best neighbour we can be. The development of these durable, open and transparent relationships with the community has included some key learnings that Hillgrove has experienced through this process. Namely, that community satisfaction should never be taken for granted.