Image credits: Gobierno de México
News Article

Creating Win-Win Scenarios for Communities and Mining Companies

By Paloma Duran | Fri, 06/17/2022 - 18:29

The relationship between indigenous communities and mining companies has proven to be key to maintaining a mining project in Mexico. As the social landscape of the mining sector becomes more complex, it is important for miners to recognize that communities now have more of a voice and need to be closesly involved in what happens on their land in order to develop win-win relationships.

Mike McPhie, Director, Falkirk Environmental Consultants, emphasized that there is a crucial difference between acknowledging the importance of this relationship and understanding how to do it right. “Our belief is that dialogue is going to be the key to success. And there are many people who are actually quite interested, but struggle with even knowing where to start,” he said.

In Mexico the matter is becoming increasingly relevant, as mining operations are often the only development alternative for marginalized communities, with many located in places that are difficult to access. Consequently, mining has the opportunity to become a true social ally. However, experts assure that it will only happen if better dialogues are created and a positive framework is established.

For years, miners, legislators and stakeholders have emphasized that Mexico’s lackinng specific framework for community engament further complicates the mining industry and makes it highly uncertain. The case of Almaden Minerals exemplifies this complex environment. In Febraury, the Supreme Court cancelled two concessions granted to Minera Gorrión, Almaden Minerals’ subsidiary, after the Ministry of Economy failed to carry out a consultation with the Tecoltemi ejido, which possesses territory located within the concessioned land. The case was highly politicized because it seemed that the mining company was punished for the government's inaction, an issue that was beyond Almaden's control.

Despite the lack of guidance and rules, Margarita Bejarano, Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager, Argonaut Gold, told MBN that many of the problems that mining companies have with communities could be avoided if the miners establish reliable communication and try to understand their position. “To communicate empathetically, one must listen first to their motivations and anxieties. Communication is the missing piece that sometimes hinders the industry. That is why it is so crucial to communicate with communities, consulting them on the development of any kind of project.”

Experts furthermore argue companies need to go beyond communication so that communities feel they truly are a part of the project. Learn from the leaders who are promoting a new benchmark for how to reach communities during Mexico Mining Forum ECHO 2022. Join the conversation with Lourdes McPherson, Director of Communities Development, Minera Adularia, Alfonso Caso, Managing Partner, AOSENUMA, Chafika Eddine, Chief Sustainability Officer, Orla Mining, as well as with Faysal Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, Mexico and Angie Robson, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, ESG & Communications, both of Torex Gold, in the panel “Creating Win-Win Scenarios for Communities and Mining Companies.”

Tickets for the summit are available here. Join the future of B2B conferences now!

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Photo by:   Gobierno de México
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst