Stakeholder roles and responsibilities
Tommi Kauppila, Geological Survey of Finland, PO Box 1237, 70211 Kuopio, Finland; tommi.kauppila(at)gtk.fi
Public participation is essential to carrying out a successful mine closure process. However, most people are not familiar with such processes and may find it difficult to know how to participate. Effective participation smoothens the process a great deal and also helps the stakeholders to get most out of the consultations. The following section has been amended and modified from: Consultative Forum on Mining and the Environment (2002): Public Participation Guidelines For Stakeholders in The Mining Industry. It presents the roles of the stakeholders in the process and gives practical information on how to best contribute to the process.
- Participate in deliberating common goals.
- Contribute their different needs and expectations
- Assist in identifying a diverse range of issues of concern and local problems
- Provide suggestions for enhanced benefits and alternatives.
- Assist in prioritizing issues to be addressed
- Help identify criteria for evaluation of trade-offs
- Contribute local and traditional knowledge.
- Verify that their issues have been considered
- Support stakeholder identification and inclusion
- Comment on the findings of studies.
There are certain responsibilities and good practices that stakeholders should observe when participating in a consultation process.
Act in time
- Become involved from the outset and do not to wait until the end of the process before contributing
Support the process
- At an early stage, help identify other stakeholders who should be consulted.
- Comment on and contribute to the process to be followed, the methods to be used and the time periods for public comment
- Honour the agreed-upon process and deadlines
- Submit comments by the agreed dates
- Go to meetings well prepared
Familiarize yourself with the issues and the process
- The public consultation process relating to mine closure may be long and involve several phases required by legislation. In addition, different topics or studies may be discussed separately, increasing the number of meetings and consultations. Familiarize yourself with the process and make sure you know what the purpose of each phase is. This also saves energy for the most important opportunities to influence the outcomes of the process.
- Seek actively to understand the concepts involved and to read and familiarize yourself with informative materials made available during the process, or to make efforts to obtain your own materials.
- Read and familiarize yourself with discussion documentation related to the proposed project paying attention to decisions already taken
See the big picture
- Big and complex projects such as closing a mine usually require certain compromises to be made and stakeholders may have differing priorities regarding the project objectives
- It is the sum of all inputs from all participants that will add value to the decision making process
- It is often necessary to rise above personal agendas and to understand and appreciate that there will always be trade-offs
- Ensure that also the views of vulnerable and less vociferous individuals and groups are taken into consideration
Act respectfully and responsibly
- Be courteous at all times, focusing on the issue and not the person or organization
- To the best of your ability, base your comments on technical issues on factual information
- Refrain from making subjective, unfounded or ill-informed statements to the media and people outside the process
- When acting as a representative of an organization or an informal group of stakeholders, actively consult and report back to these in a timely manner
- Notify the organizers of meetings of changes of representatives or absence if you are unable to attend
- Avoid revisiting issues or options on which a consensus decision already has been made
Consultative Forum on Mining and the Environment 2002. Public Participation Guidelines For Stakeholders in The Mining Industry. Consultative Forum on Mining and the Environment, South Africa. First Edition, August 2002. 56 p. http://www.environment.co.za/documents/mining-prospecting/Public-Participation-Guidelines-for-Stakeholders-in-Mining.pdf