FRUTA DEL NORTE PROJECT, ECUADOR, VIEWED THROUGH A RELATIONSHIP LENS
CIM Vancouver 2016
Dr Dominic M.deR. Channer (Vice President, External Affairs, Americas - Kinross Gold Corporation), Dr Johannes A. Boon (President - FaciliTech International)
The Fruta del Norte project is located in South-East Ecuador. It was discovered by Aurelian in 2006 and sold to Kinross in 2008. By 2013, Kinross and the Los Encuentros Parish Council were involved in most existing bilateral relationships between 25 entities. The initial meaning given to the project by the community was as a threat and the some community leaders prohibited direct contact. However, some respected “outliers” saw the project as an opportunity and began dialogue and relationship development with the company and the community. Routine company-Parish Council interactions evolved into a social structure, strengthening both relationships and local governance. The qualitative risk-of-conflict measures associated with the relationship indicators: trust; respect; communication; mutual understanding; conflict resolution; goal compatibility; balance of power; focus; frequency; stability; and productivity became low. By December 2014, when Kinross sold FDN to LundinGold, 35% of local people had a lot of trust in Kinross and an additional 54% some level of trust. The initial reference group for the community was the Parish Council, whereas the company’s interactions with the community were measured against explicit company values, Kinross’ international practices and international frameworks. Through interaction, the community became part of the company’s field of reference and the company became part of the community’s field of reference (explicit statement by interviewees). The Ecuadorian government requirement for a local development plan and related government infrastructure development were important contextual factors. The relationship model provided a useful framework within which to interpret and manage company-community interactions.