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Social licences to operate: for better not for worse; for richer not for poorer? the impacts of unplanned mining closure for ‘fence line’ residential communities.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Alison L Browne
  • Daniela Stehlik
  • Amma Buckley
  • Alcoa Foundation Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program (Funder)
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Local Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Issue number7
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)707-725
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Establishing ‘social licences to operate’ with communities has become a significant corporate social responsibility agenda. The complex dynamics of these relationships can compound the impacts for communities when these contracts are not upheld. This article documents reflections from a Rapid Rural Appraisal conducted in the Shire of Ravensthorpe in remote Western Australia after the Ravensthorpe Nickel Operation was ‘mothballed’ nine months into a projected twenty five year life span. It captures how communication about the project and its timeframes created a sense of consistency, predictability, certainty and trust - enabling the social licence. The raising of hope, and the emergence of mistrust underpin the social, environmental and financial impacts of this event for the local community. Embedded in the theoretical dimensions of social licences this case study highlights the problematic social licences engage with non-contractual stakeholders as partners in ‘booms’ but have no legal responsibility towards them in times of ‘bust’.