Community perceptions of sustainable development : implications for an approach to closure mining
Nell, Tarryn Mary
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The closure of a mine is an inevitable event in the lifecycle of a mining operation and one that can have massive environmental, social and economic consequences for mining communities in particular. The ultimate goal of mine closure should be sustainable development and, while adequate planning, risk assessment and goal setting influence the mine closure process, the relationships between stakeholders, especially those between mining companies and communities, lie at the heart of implementing sustainable closure. Mining communities are affected by nearby mining operations and, although they can enjoy the economic benefits of the industry, they also bear the brunt of the negative social and environmental impacts. The focus on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility in addition to the increased power of communities in recent years has forced mining companies to consider the interests of this stakeholder group. The community's perceptions and expectations of sustainable development can, however, differ from those of the mining company and have an influence on the stakeholder engagement process. The current study investigates the mining community of Kagiso's perceptions of sustainable development and the implications of these perceptions for the implementation of Mintails Mogale Gold Mine's approach to mine closure. Stakeholder engagement issues are brought to the fore and recommendations for improving the engagement between the mine and the community are proposed.