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A clash of cultures (and lawyers): Anglo Platinum and mine-affected communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa


  • Farrell, Leanne A.
  • Hamann, Ralph
  • Mackres, Eric


The human rights related controversies surrounding Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena mine in South Africa's Limpopo Province hit the world stage in 2008, attracting public scrutiny and instigating much debate in the realm of international business and human rights discussions. We provide an in-depth analysis of the controversies at Mogalakwena, and Anglo Platinum's responses. This case study contributes to ongoing debates on mining company-community relations in the context of the emerging business and human rights agenda, specifically with respect to the notion of human rights ‘due diligence’. We argue that the Mogalakwena case study illustrates the risks of companies adhering to and emphasizing the technical and logistical facets of due diligence, without sufficient attention to the relational, communicative and emergent aspects, which are closely tied to corporate culture. We highlight the complexities of company-community relationships, with particular reference to the issues of legitimate community representation and participatory decision-making, and discuss the role that organizational culture plays in exacerbating or mitigating corporate-community conflict. The case study demonstrates how legal challenges often exacerbate rather than resolve the conflicts that arise due to a clash between corporate and community cultures. We suggest the need for corporate leaders to become more conscious of this cultural dimension of effective social management, particularly when interacting with communities whose cultures are markedly different from those of business corporations.

Suggested Citation

  • Farrell, Leanne A. & Hamann, Ralph & Mackres, Eric, 2012. "A clash of cultures (and lawyers): Anglo Platinum and mine-affected communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 194-204.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:2:p:194-204 DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2011.05.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Humphreys, David, 2000. "A business perspective on community relations in mining," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 127-131, September.
    2. Hilson, Gavin & Murck, Barbara, 2000. "Sustainable development in the mining industry: clarifying the corporate perspective," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 227-238, December.
    3. Brendan O'Dwyer & Jeffrey Unerman & Elaine Hession, 2005. "User needs in sustainability reporting: Perspectives of stakeholders in Ireland," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 759-787.
    4. Warhurst, Alyson & Mitchell, Paul, 2000. "Corporate social responsibility and the case of Summitville mine," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 91-102, June.
    5. Biggs, Stephen & Smith, Sally, 2003. "A Paradox of Learning in Project Cycle Management and the Role of Organizational Culture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1743-1757, October.
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    1. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:190-200 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:259-266 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kemp, Deanna & Worden, Sandy & Owen, John R., 2016. "Differentiated social risk: Rebound dynamics and sustainability performance in mining," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 19-26.
    4. Badera, Jarosław & Kocoń, Paweł, 2015. "Moral panic related to mineral development projects – Examples from Poland," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 29-36.
    5. Lyons, Margaret & Bartlett, Jennifer & McDonald, Paula, 2016. "Corporate social responsibility in junior and mid-tier resources companies operating in developing nations – beyond the public relations offensive," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 204-213.
    6. Badera Jarosław, 2014. "Problems of the social non-acceptance of mining projects with particular emphasis on the European Union – a literature review," Environmental & Socio-economic Studies, De Gruyter Open, vol. 2(1), pages 27-34, March.

    More about this item


    Mining; Human rights; Corporate social responsibility; Resettlement; Culture; South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • L72 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts


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