SA Mines and Energy Journal : October - November 2013
35 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL Dedicated, transparent and inclusive community engagement practices are playing a crucial role in paving the way for Rex Minerals in developing its Hillside project into a large-scale, low-cost and long-life mining operation on the Yorke Peninsula. The broader region around the Ardrossan township has a rich agricultural history and the small coastal settlements scattered around Rex's wider exploration tenements are popular with retirees and holidaymakers. Historically, copper mining occurred in the region during the 1800s and today a dolomite quarry and a port operate approximately 12km from the Hillside site. The Yorke Peninsula is also home to the Narungga People. These complexities around shared land use in Australia are well documented and continue to drive the scrutiny of mining's socio-economic and environmental impacts. The approach taken by Rex at Hillside mirrors this and highlights both the importance of effective community engagement throughout the entire project cycle and understanding the dynamic between mining and agriculture. Integrating the Hillside project into the broader regional framework is a key company objective and involves maximising opportunities generated by a mine development. Gaining community support requires a commitment to meaningful engagement with the local community. This is reflected by the integration of a community policy into Rex's strategic business model, along with the endorsement of SACOME's Code of Practice for Community and Stakeholder Engagement. Rex also adheres to SACOME's Code of Conduct for mineral and energy explorers in accessing rural land. Community input has helped the company develop appropriate drill pads, improved environmental management procedures and facilitated land access and compensation agreements. Together with recognition of the Narrunga people as a key stakeholder, a Heritage Agreement and close working relationship with the Narungga Heritage Group and SA Museum has prospered. The Hillside Community Consultative Group (CCG) and associated groups provide a structured forum for community representation which has been critical in issue identification and response, reviewing plans from a community perspective and harnessing local knowledge and expertise. Community engagement on the Yorke Peninsula also extends to the Rex Community Sponsorship Program which has provided funding for the Ardrossan Community Hospital's accident and emergency ser vice centre. Regular public tours of the Hillside site, open office sessions, presentations to community interest groups and regular updates through the 'Rexpress' newsletter are also part of the broader community engagement strategy. Hillside reflects significant challenges mining companies face when exploring in established agricultural regions, but also demonstrates how proactive and meaningful community and stakeholder engagement can drive innovation and assist in successfully developing a project. COMMUNITY Lewis Stoll looks at one of South Australia's next big projects and how successful community engagement is paving the way for its development. Gaining momentum The approach highlights the importance of e ective community engagement throughout the project and understanding the dynamic between mining and agriculture SACOME's Code of Practice for Community & Stakeholder Engagement is a useful tool for SACOME industry members to demonstrate their commitment to community and stakeholder relations. The principles outlined in the Code are good practice for all companies and SACOME encourages all industry members to sign the Code. SACOME has also developed a Code of Conduct for Mineral & Energy Explorers -- endorsed by Primary Producers SA -- to provide a framework for exploration companies accessing rural land. For more information on the Codes contact Lewis Stoll, 08 8202 9999 or lstoll@ sacome.org.au A tour group learning about drilling at a Hillside diamond drill rig.
August - September 2013
December - January 2013-14