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Socioeconomic Benefit Optimization

Socioeconomic Benefit Optimization: The conversion of natural capital into human capital holds the greatest promise for sustainable outcomes from mining activities.

To this end, governments should consider

The need to integrate community, regional and national issues by:

  • Targeting every level of education from primary to post‐graduate levels in a manner consistent with local and national needs; and
  • Ensuring that both the physical infrastructure and the human resources to staff and service educational facilities are put in place and upgraded over time through the efforts of all stakeholders, including the permit holder; and ensuring that—with government leadership—stakeholders other than the permit holder assume greater responsibility over time. Thus, when mine closure approaches, the physical and human educational infrastructure can make the post‐closure transition with a minimum of disruption.

Addressing community health by:

  • Including health considerations in the baseline socioeconomic assessment required by mining entities during the permitting process;
  • Working with mining entities as well as with communities in the planning and priority setting for health services that the entities may have undertaken to provide; and
  • Leading with other stakeholders to gradually assume responsibility for this activity from mining entities so that when mine closure approaches the physical and human public health infrastructure can make the post‐closure transition with a minimum of disruption.

Ensuring high standards for occupational health and safety by:

  • Ensuring that each company within its jurisdiction accepts corporate responsibility for occupational health and safety through an appropriate set of legal requirements, as well as through governmental monitoring, inspection and enforcement activities;
  • Ensuring that failures in occupational safety and health performance are dealt with effectively to prevent reoccurrence and are supported by a system of penalties up to and including the revocation of operating permits; and
  • Requiring entities to provide the education, training, equipment, and adequate system that will reduce hazards and minimize the risk of accidents, injury, and disease and create a safety‐conscious environment.

Optimizing employment opportunities at the mine by:

  • Requiring that socioeconomic plans be part of the permitting process and seeking to optimize the employment of host nationals, particularly those from the vicinity of the mine. Depending on national circumstances, educational and other elements will have as an objective increasing the national presence in the operation of the mine, including increasing levels of managerial responsibility.

Creating business development opportunities by:

  • Putting in place a supportive legal and fiscal environment so that the socioeconomic plan developed by the permit holder and approved by the government includes the promotion of opportunities for local, regional and national supply of goods and services to the mine, the community and the region; and
  • Promoting new non-mine-related industrial and service business opportunities made possible by infrastructure put in place for the mine.

Addressing potential security issues by:

  • Working with entities to address issues that may give rise to security concerns before issuing permits or commencing operations. Governments and entities should consider using the tools and programs of the socioeconomic plan to resolve or reduce the potential for disputes and be guided in their actions by international norms such as those represented by the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; and
  • Not issuing permits when a deposit to be mined is in an area of active armed conflict. When there is already active development or an operating mine when conflict breaks out, governments and operating entities should act to protect human rights and ensure the safety of miners, their families and communities in accordance with the OECD guidelines. If this does not prove possible, governments may consider removing the mine operation from the dynamics of the conflict by any means possible, including by revoking the mine permit and shutting the mine down.

The importance of respecting human rights, indigenous peoples, and cultural heritage by:

  • Ensuring that domestic policies and laws are (at a minimum) consistent with international law and norms. With regard to indigenous peoples, governments and mining entities should respect the spirit and intent of current and future international normative language such as is found in the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability; and
  • Ensuring that high standards of conduct are observed by mining operations in their countries and requiring that mining entities, in their permit applications and day‐to‐day operations, are knowledgeable of and act in ways consistent with national laws and international laws and norms.

The IGF’s flagship policy guidance and assessment tool is the Mining Policy Framework (MPF). The MPF lays out international best practices in six key pillars of mining policy and law: the legal and policy environment; financial benefit optimization; socioeconomic benefit optimization; environmental management; mine closure and post-mining transitions; and artisanal and small-scale mining.