Mine closure and First Nations - social licence strategies for effective community engagement

R. E. Breadmore and G. J. Lafferty

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) has custodial responsibilities for many contaminated sites situated on federal lands in Canada's north. Through the Northern Contaminated Sites program (NCSP), the department manages legacy impacts from mining, oil and gas, and military activities. The objective of the NCSP is to reduce and, where possible, eliminate, risk to human health and the environment along with associated financial liabilities to Canada. Social licence can be defined as a community's acceptance of an undertaking they believe has the potential to have an effect on their wellbeing. For the NCSP and Contaminants and Remediation Division (CARD), social licence with aboriginal stakeholders is obtained through active community engagement throughout al project phases, from remedial planning to the execution of remedial measures through to closure and long-term monitoring. Community engagement within CARD has been modelled largely after the successful Discovery and Colomac mine remediation projects. Project planning for those projects involved up to two years of front-end community meetings, leadership updates, site tours and remedial options selection and remedial action plan finalisation. Community capacity was developed through traditional knowledge studies and high-school-level science camps as well as job shadows and apprenticeship programs during the remediation phase. These models helped shape CARD's engagement strategies including those adopted for the Great Slave Lake (GSL) Remediation Project. The results obtained from the GSL engagement strategy indicate a sound understanding of the project among the stakeholder groups and strong community support. This suggests that CARD has obtained its social licence for the GSL Project; the GSL Project Team must now maintain this licence.

Breadmore, R. E. & Lafferty, G. J. (2015). Mine closure and First Nations - social licence strategies for effective community engagement. In A.B. Fourie, M. Tibbett, L. Sawatsky, & D. van Zyl (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mine Closure. InfoMine/Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Vancouver (pp. 753-762).

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Conference paper
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Cananda
Mine closure and First Nations - social licence strategies for effective community engagement