Social dimensions of mining: Research, policy and practice challenges for the minerals industry in Australia
The social dimensions of the mining industry are increasingly acknowledged as critical to business success, yet remain the least understood aspect of the business concept of sustainable development--the 'triple bottom line' of economy, environment and society. In this paper we present our findings on the current state of the debate on, and research into, contemporary issues in the Australian minerals industry since the pivotal 2002 Mining and Minerals Sustainable Development (MMSD) Project. We identify current themes, the diversity of mining stakeholder views, and the different ways resource policy challenges are articulated based on values, drivers, and interpretations. In other words, we provide a social map or landscape of the industry in Australia. In the final section of the paper, we identify research policy and practice gaps and the emerging challenges faced by the industry and by society. In particular, we note that 'the social' is broader than the concept of 'community' allows. Understanding this will assist in meeting these challenges at local, national and international levels.
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