15 Dec 2020 / News
Social impact of mining projects: how AlSiCal tackles this issue
Extractive projects worldwide bring change to communities. They can cause social disruption but also create opportunities for economic gain and development. The impacts of extractive projects are experienced already at very early stages of development prior to production, and future impacts cannot always be foreseen. Meanwhile, criticism and conflict in relation to projects have been found in areas of development even after periods of general acceptance and support from locals. It is therefore extremely important to plan and manage extractive projects with care to ensure that development takes place in a manner that does not compromise a sustainable development in the impacted communities.
The AlSiCal project addresses social issues important to take into consideration when new mining projects are planned. These issues concern aspects of social life in impacted communities, including aspects of gender. This analysis is carried out by Aalborg University. Particular attention is paid to the relations between gender and extractive projects. This is proposed as one of main factors amongst other that could be used already when companies screen areas for potential investments. This in order to promote social wellbeing in the communities affected by mineral extraction, which will feed the green transition worldwide in the future.
Naturally, attention to social impacts related to Bauxite mining and refining varies considerably from country to country. Australia could be mentioned as one of the countries that has well-developed tools for analyzing and mitigating social impacts. E.g. are independent social impact analysis reports with thorough treatment of social impacts widely used. However, this is far from standard practice worldwide and it is just as common for social impacts analyses to be included in the general EIA-report and treated perfunctory.
Today, no worldwide standard for social impact analysis related to mining exists. The World Bank has shown to be an important actor in furthering the focus on social impacts, since it has rather comprehensive demands related to social impact analysis connected to loans given to mining projects which naturally furthers the focus on social impacts. At European level, the European Union plays a vital role in furthering social impact analysis in the mining sector and the AlSiCal project will for sure contribute to this.