header image

Social License to Operate: Why dialogue with local communities is vital for mining companies

At its most narrow definition, a social license, or Social License to Operate (SLO), is the level of acceptance a company receives from the local community where it operates.

Download Pdf

At its most narrow definition, a social license, or Social License to Operate (SLO), is the level of acceptance a company receives from the local community where it operates. Rather than a formal agreement, at the core of the concept is an assumption that companies whose operations have an impact on either the environment or society where they operate, require not only regulatory approvals, but also a social approval. In this article we look at the theory of SLO and how it has manifested itself in the mining sector.

 

New call-to-action

 

SLO is a term that has emerged over the past two decades particularly in the context of extractive industries. An increasing number of mining companies that failed to consider the need for an SLO in their pre-feasibility studies have found themselves in prolonged legal battles and significant delays to production. 

 

"WHILE EACH MODEL SUGGESTS A UNIQUE POINT OF VIEW, THE CONCLUSION OF ALL OF THEM REMAINS THE SAME; IT IS ONLY THROUGH TRANSPARENT DIALOGUE WITH LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS THAT COMPANIES CAN GUARANTEE APPROVAL, OR AT THE VERY LEAST ACCEPTANCE, FROM THE LOCAL COMMUNITY."

 

However, the ambiguity surrounding the term and the various approaches to it have resulted in widespread misperceptions about SLO. In the absence of a single agency to set a regulatory framework around it, various experts, scholars, and organisations have developed different models to approach it. While each model suggests a unique point of view, the conclusion of all of them remains the same; it is only through transparent dialogue with local stakeholders (such as municipalities, labour unions, local NGOs and indigenous community leaders) that companies can ensure approval, or at the very least acceptance, is achieved prior to the launch of extractive operations.  

 

READ THE FULL REPORT 

 

MARIO LEVIN, Associate Director

Mario joined S-RM in 2021 as an Associate Director at the company’s Corporate Intelligence practice, where he oversees the Regulatory & Compliance work.

Prior to S-RM, he spent five years as a team leader in two boutique corporate intelligence firms, where he specialised in enhanced due diligence, bespoke investigations, Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operations and political risk analysis, focusing on Latin America, Iberia and the Middle East. Mario also has experience in military intelligence analysis, having served for three years in the Israeli Intelligence Corps. Mario is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and he holds a BA in Economics from the Ben-Gurion University in Israel and University Carlos III de Madrid, as well as a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Having previously lived in Israel, Spain and Mexico, Mario is a fluent Hebrew and Spanish speaker. He also has knowledge of French and Portuguese.

To discuss this article or other industry developments, please reach out to one of our experts.

Mario Levin
Mario levin Associate Director Email Mario

CYBER INCIDENT RESPONSE: PERSPECTIVES FROM INSIDE THE RISK ECOSYSTEM

In our latest report, we examine a cyber incident from the perspective of several key stakeholders.

Download Report