Both now, and likely even more so in the future, early engagement with multiple stakeholders is critical to a project being welcomed by the local community and receiving timely approvals. Exploratory drilling is likely the first point of contact, and trust can be built or eroded at this early stage. Listening to the goals of all stakeholder groups as early as possible is key. As projects progress and are more fully defined, the ability to flex the mine plan and infrastructure is more and more limited.
Key stakeholders can include:
- Local community and landholders
- Indigenous, First Nations and land-connected people.
With funding sources increasingly being linked to ESG performance, and manufacturers becoming more interested in the sustainability of upstream supply chains, understanding the emissions and environmental impact of mining and mineral processing options is critical. Considerations include:
- Life cycle emissions modelling of options
- Mine-to-mill simulation to identify optimum configuration for both emissions and NPV
- Planning with the end in mind – including detailing progressive rehabilitation and ongoing community engagement for end-use requirements
- Building more flexibility into processing and fleet designs, to adjust mine scale based on changing commodity pricing, geological, environmental and social requirements
- Evaluate alternative processing options that minimise energy, emissions, and water use.