The Community Engagement Plan
The licensee attaches the highest importance to good community relations and being a good neighbour to the businesses and residents of its areas of operation. Its parent companies have operated in jurisdictions around the world including areas of significant population and community sensitivity and follow best practice wherever they operate.
In general terms, the licensee’s community engagement plan is based on the following:
- Identify individuals or groups which may be impacted by the operations on the licence. This would involve the compilation of a list of landowners, persons living on or in the vicinity of the licence and other community groups which may be impacted by the operations.
- The licensee has established a Technical Advisory Board with geologists and other specialists’ resident in the license areas to advise at each stage on which groups or individuals should be consulted or approached and provide feedback.
- Contact will be maintained with representative groups such as the Victorian Farmers Federation, lobbying or special interest groups that may have an interest, and government bodies with a particular interest in the land on which the licence is situated.
- The senior management of the licensee will make themselves easily available for discussion or information meetings with local residents, either individually or collectively.
It will be necessary to identify the expectations or attitudes of these groups and individuals. Often a direct face to face approach is the best way to engage many members of the community.
The licensee will need to assess the impact of their operation on these individuals and groups. Following the consultation, the full impact would be assessed by guidelines provided by the Department.
An assessment will be made following the consultation as to what level of community input and involvement can be achieved. There are likely to be a range of matters which may need to be considered. Ideally, many of the ideas and suggestions will be mutually beneficial to both the licensee and the local community. Matters such as operating hours or attitudes to working on days of high fire danger or working on hot and windy days may be matters which the local community could have views which need to be considered by the licensees.
Any contact or complaint will be noted in a complaints book, and the licensee will promptly make suitable arrangements to contact the complainant. Where possible, the matter would be settled between the two parties, but the local Inspector or the Mining Warden may be requested to assist in resolving any issue or mediating on the matter.
Such interaction with the community will be used to identify any issues that may be arising from the operations on the licence and will attempt to accommodate the views of the stakeholders in dealing with any such issues.
The community is welcomed for their interest and input into minimising and mitigating any adverse impacts on the area, and meeting the expectations of the community for the peaceful enjoyment of their local environment.
The licensee is mindful of the need to maintain these exceptionally good community relations and to ensure that the channels of communication between the licence holder and the community in which it operates are kept open. All discussion with the community is based on mutual trust and respect.
All exploration activities will be conducted strictly in accordance with law, regulation, and best practice. All rehabilitation will be carried out as soon as is practicable after exploration activities have taken place and in line with the current Guidelines for environmental management in exploration and mining. Before any field activities are carried out, appropriate environmental management specialists will be engaged to ensure all staff and contractors are aware of all site-specific environmental sensitivities, such as weeds and endangered flora and fauna and will act accordingly.
The licensee is committed to minimising or where possible avoiding environmental impact and will work in accordance with the Guidelines as determined by the Victorian Government and will facilitate effective rehabilitation of all disturbed areas. No wetlands, waterways or lakes will be impacted by exploration activities.