Sino Gold's Jinfeng Mine is an Australian-operated joint venture with the Chinese government that entered production in May 2007. Sino Gold sought guidance on how to build its "social license to operate" by promoting long-term community development in the five remote villages surrounding the mine in the mountains of southern China. Sino Gold contacted BSR for advice on the design of a community development strategy that would go beyond traditional public relations or social marketing efforts to promote real, tangible improvements in people's quality of life.
We responded to this challenge with a two-stage approach. First, BSR staff from our Energy and Mining team in San Francisco and our Guangzhou, China, office conducted a stakeholder mapping session with mine staff in China, as well as a series of in-person interviews with more than 100 community members and government officials in the area around the mine. By listening to people’s hopes and fears regarding the mine’s impact on their daily lives, we developed a short list of stakeholders’ key “issues of concern.” For example, community members were eager to work at the mine or develop small businesses supplying the operation, but did not always have the necessary education or skills to do so. Government officials were looking for increased opportunities to dialogue with the mine and explore options for collaboration in promoting local community development.
Based on these key issues, we next set out to identify and evaluate international development agencies and other domestic nonprofits as candidates to partner with the mine in the design and implementation of a community development program. Relying on its network, BSR conducted in-person and phone interviews with potential partners and then recommended a short list of domestic and international candidates that would be good development partners for Sino Gold.
Sino Gold is taking action on the recommendations we presented both in China and at company headquarters in Sydney. Sino Gold plans to establish a multi-year budget commitment for community development at Jinfeng and has begun a dialogue with the recommended development agencies to develop a long-term partnership agreement. Development work in the five communities around the mine is expected to be underway by the end of 2008.