Director Corporate Social Responsibility at the SA
Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) Dr Nigel Long said more focus has been based on communities.
“Companies are using tools such as focus groups, public
information sessions and one on one communication to connect with a diverse range of people and optimise community benefits,” he said.
CEO of Community Engagement Group Australia (cega), an independent organisation assisting communities,
companies and government with community engagement
programs Bob Goreing said our State resources industry leads the way in its commitment to regional communities with its Code of Practice for Community Engagement.
The Code was developed by SACOME together with cega
and the SA government.
“It helps set a standard that everyone can see,” he said.
Every community is different and companies also recognise that within communities, people have different perspectives.
Some communities on the Eyre Peninsula are losing
ground with shrinking populations and a narrow economic
District Council of Wudinna Chairman Tim Scholz said latest census results have confirmed further population loss across the peninsula, particularly within small communities.
He said employment opportunities at proposed mines
could encourage people to stay in the region.
“Mining will bring diversity of industry and encourage
growth back into the community, as well as retaining those who wish to stay,” he said.
Mr Scholz was part of a focus group facilitated by Iron
Road concentrating on social issues.
Iron Road has an iron ore project located in Warramboo
on the central Eyre Peninsula at definitive feasibility stage.
The company established six focus groups covering key
topics identified by the community:
environment; business; transport and access; social;
education/training and housing/accommodation.
Focus groups are an effective way to learn from members
of the community with expertise and interests in different
One insight to come from the groups was the opportunity
for flexible work rosters, allowing farmers to manage their
properties at peak times and also obtain work in the mine, something Iron Road is supportive of should their project proceed.
On a broader level, the company has conducted public
meetings in surrounding towns, presenting information
and answering questions.
Eyre Iron is also engaging an extensive selection of the
community by holding information sessions across a range of locations and at varying times of the day.
The company then provides attendees with a report detailing the questions and responses.
This open engagement strategy will see the company
expanding its community engagement methods over the
remainder of the year, including the establishment of a community newsletter.