MUGA Spain

The social focus as a cornerstone for success in the MUGA project

2014
- Ongoing
Spain

Summary

Geoalcali is a Spanish company dedicated to the exploration, development and operation of potash mines in Spain. The Company's attitude towards external stakeholders and Social Responsability can be summarized by the moto "CREA" Commitment, Respect, Excellence, Attitude. Possibly the most significant action undertaken was the voluntarily Public Participation Process

Description

Geoalcali is undertaking the development of the Muga Mine potash project, located in the northern region of Spain. Since its inception, one of the Company’s key strategic activities has been its commitment to transparent, two-way, continuous and open, communication with local communities. 

 

The communication strategy has a number of streams, such as presentations, face-to-face discussions, group meetings, one-on-one meetings, engagement in local social activities, provision of various materials about the mine, working sessions with mayors, engagement with schools in the neighboring towns, Open Days for local community, and, very significantly, a formal Public Participation Process. These activities will continue in the future, so as to ensure engagement and to build mutual trust with local key stakeholders in a transparent and open fashion. The Company understands and believes that there is no more important strategic goal than the maintenance and nurturing of the Social Licence to Operate.   

In the list of activities described above, possibly the most significant action undertaken was the voluntarily Public Participation Process, which included:

- Information sessions with the community (12), more than 1,500 people have attended the public sessions.

- Survey of a statistically significant 8% of local residents. (Official public statistics typically have participation rates of 0.05%)

- Survey of key stakeholder groups, including those that may have voiced concerns about the project.  

- Discussion sessions with the residents coordinated by an external party, with the objective of collecting suggestions and understanding any concerns. All recommendations from these sessions were addressed by the Company.

- The Company committed publicly to 23 Commitments to the community, including an action plan with several initiatives that are monitored and publicly available on Geolcali´s website. 

- Placement of suggestion boxes in the community to maintain active offline communication channels.

This Process has no precedent in the sector.

Geoalcali is also active with regular updates to society via the media and participates in information events to raise awareness on the importance of “raw materials and mining with principles”.

“To build a successful, sustainable, potash business with respect for stakeholders and the environment”
Communications and CSR Manager
Susana Bieberach

Impact on the mining value chain

Exploration

  • reduced environmental impact

Extraction

  • increased environmental performance

Processing

  • increased environmental performance

Mine closure / Waste

  • mine site reclamation/rehabilitation for subsequent uses

Linked policies

Transferability

SLO concept should be incorporated in business model and culture. It is key to have proactive communication from the beginning towards all stakeholders, in order to build trust. Educational processes are important for society to raise its awareness for where resources come from.

Impact area(s): 

Area: 
Human/Social, Public participation
Innovation drivers and barriers
Drivers
Other
Social skills. it is necessary to incorporate soft skills to the mining design teams and to the engineers and geologists so that they know how to explain the projects well to society
Barriers
Other
NIMBY. Not In My Backyard. There is an important sector of society that is against mining, so it is important to raise awareness

Good practice areas

Social responsibility
involving the community and their engagement for creating a social licence to operate

Organisations involved

Innovation category

Organisational