There are a number of good guidelines on social impact assessment (SIA). However there is no widely recognised standard in approaches that is used consistently to examine the social impact of mine closures. This paper asks "is variation in objectives, definitions, SIA practitioner skill sets and approaches a good thing? Are there consequences for the mine closure industry from such a range of industry accepted SIA standards? What can industry and consultants do to minimise the risk of the consequences of such a range of SIA approaches?" This paper is written from a consultant's review of both SIA literature and SIA projects in Australia. Projects are not named to ensure confidentiality. It argues that the variation in SIA definitions, approaches, and skill sets has consequences relating to project risk, SIA quality and credibility and ultimately project sustainability. It recommends a number of actions that are relevant to the mining closure industry and to consultants being engaged on SIAs that will reduce the risk of these consequences.
Ferguson, K. (2007). Getting social impact assessment right - minimising project risk and maximising sustainable outcomes. In A. B. Fourie, M. Tibbett, & J. Wiertz (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth (pp. 139-144).