As Canadian mining companies continuously seek access to new jurisdictions around the world to explore and expand their operations, they increasingly encroach on sensitive areas such as critical wildlife habitats, biodiversity hotspots, and indigenous communities. Consequently, more and more often, they are being confronted with some serious social challenges, such as strong opposition from key local and international stakeholder groups. While companies often perform adequate due diligence to identify financial and operating risks, social risks are often overlooked, which can lead to significant roadblocks such as permitting delays, and sometimes denied access. Conducting a thorough social risk assessment (SRA) during the initial stages of exploration can assist companies to identify the various social risks associated with operating in a particular area, and allow them to begin to develop a strategy to mitigate such risks or avoid them altogether. This presentation will review the what, why, when and how of social risk assessment, and draw examples from the industry to demonstrate how SRAs can contribute to effective risk management for mining projects.