The Mismatch between Mineral Exploration and Community Engagement: Some Ethical Questions.
This paper will outline the mismatch between exploration and community engagement, looking specifically at differences in approach, commitment, and funding. Reference will be made to two contrasting case studies from Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the author will explore a radically different approach to solving the conundrum.
The basic issue is that most exploration is driven by a speculative, short term vision to quickly determine if a commercially viable mineral deposit can be discovered and proved. Most often, it’s a quick in and out scenario, with little concern for longer term consequences. This is in sharp contrast to community engagement, which is a long term proposition in which it takes a significant amount of time to establish and maintain relations with local communities.
Given the increasing value of good community relations, a radical change in mindset is required about the time and financial commitment to develop meaningful and long-lasting community engagement. The current approach is to start and stop community engagement in parallel within the time frame for exploration.
The author would like to explore several ethical issues in relation to the above scenario.