We now live in an era where the resources industry is expected to go beyond just complying with the law.
So what does it mean to go beyond compliant?
- Meeting the expectations of external community on a local, national and international level.
- Transparency in meeting objectives that address those expectations.
- Creating a culture of respect for the environment.
- Awareness of the potential impacts as a result of mining activities.
- A genuine show of environmental responsibility among the mining workforce that extends beyond the mine.
- Being proactive in going beyond those expectations.
This does not need to be an expensive exercise! Internal culture building programs can be developed by information, environment themed activities, employee involvement and decision-making that extends beyond the environment teams. The budget is minimal.
There does, however, need to be endorsement and support by senior management. This support from the leadership team tends to be the one aspect that is missing and the one aspect that is most frustrating when building a culture that extends beyond being just compliant with the law and license conditions. So, the most important step (and possibly the most difficult step) is to gain that endorsement and support.
The transient nature of the mining workforce adds to the difficulty. However if an industry wide approach was taken then the positive outcomes from such programs would be observed much sooner.
It is also worthy to note that this is a long-term initiative and in most cases will likely take at least five years to see results.