Last week we passed along to our readers a list of how not to mine in Peru. It caught the attention of Brent McNiven, who wrote:
"I read your Peru article with interest. I lived in South America for nearly 10 years, including Peru from 1995 to 1999, and continue to operate projects in S. America and Africa.
"The factors you mention in your article are fundamentally caused by improper stakeholder management and a critical failure in effective communication. Stakeholder and communications management are core project management competencies, however with some notable exceptions, are too often deferred, ignored or badly mismanaged.
"Hindsight is said to be 20/20, and while the reasons for these failures are relatively easy to identify, and had such an large impact on their operations, I am amazed that none of the companies listed in the article have made any mention in press releases or on their websites of what they would do differently next time, suggesting that no lessons were learned, and that the failures will continue.
"Extensive academic and case studies on project failure in culturally diverse environments make it clear that unless companies correctly adopt, implement, and integrate professional project management methods, the failures you mention in Peru will continue.
"Many companies do have excellent, proactive and aggressive stakeholder and communications management plans, and for the most part we never hear about their efforts. These companies work very hard to be ethical, to add long term fundamental value to the local economy, and strive to be an integrated part the community. It would be invaluable if these companies could be profiled as successful examples to show the world that exploration and mining can – and is – done right."
We at CMJ are working on a special Barrick issue for June. Rest assured that it will contain lots of information on how to properly manage community relations at exploration and development projects outside North America. – M.S.