Preventing Conflict in Exploration: Tool and Toolkit for Explorers and Developers
The Toolkit is intended as a simple and practical guide, providing key steps for preventing conflict through constructive community engagement in exploration. The Toolkit draws from the tools of the collaborating partners, including the Corporate Engagement Program Framework, PDAC’s e3Plus, and World Vision’s Making Sense of Turbulent Contexts. The Toolkit also draws its content from a series of field tests with exploration companies as well as the input of many contributors and collaborators.
Preventing Conflict in Exploration: A Toolkit for Explorers and Developers (PCE) presents a simple and practical analysis Tool that helps mining exploration and development companies approach their routine business activities in a manner that furthers positive relations with local communities, even where tensions or conflict exist in the local operating environment.
Conflict sensitivity in exploration activities is achieved through engagement that is early, ongoing, broad and inclusive, beginning in exploration and continuing throughout the project lifecycle. The PCE Tool guides explorers and developers in scanning the social, political and economic environment in order to effectively identify key stakeholders, conflict risks and opportunities for intervention for the purpose of building conflict sensitive engagement strategies.
Developers and exploration teams are the first face of any exploration project. Their actions establish expectations within communities that can have long-term implications for future relations. However, many explorers express that they lack the skills to address social issues and would welcome exploration-specific guidance. Engagement is often approached on an ad hoc basis, relying on the limited information collected by geologists who lack time and resources, or on small community relations teams with limited tools and capacity.
Though numerous conflict assessment frameworks and tools for the extractive industry already exist, most are either oriented to companies already operating mines, or complex enough to require external expertise to implement. This Tool is designed to be useful in exploration without external support. Nevertheless, in complex situations of conflict explorers may need to seek expert advice.
The PCE Tool is designed to:
- Provide straightforward steps for community engagement, beginning the first day of exploration
- Aid analysis of complex issues, particularly those that arise in settings of open conflict
- Suggest options for addressing known or potential risks before tensions or conflict escalate
- Provide options for engaging external groups, such as locally-operating Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
- Be applicable in developed and developing countries, and in contexts of conflict or where there exists a legacy of social conflict regarding natural resources exploration and extraction