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What Gives You a Social Licence? An Exploration of the Social Licence to Operate in the Australian Mining Industry

Centre for Public Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
Resources 2014, 3(1), 62-80; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3010062
Received: 10 November 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 21 January 2014
This article analyses the ways in which major, multinational mining companies operating within Australia understand sustainable development and articulate their “social licence to operate”. The article contributes a novel perspective to ongoing discussions about the social licence by exploring the ways in which leading Australian mining companies define and assert their social licences through sustainable development discourse. A content and discourse analysis of 18 sustainability reports across a four year period, supplemented by qualitative interview data, draws out these issues. While most companies use these reports to confirm beliefs in the necessity of a social licence, the ways in which the licence is specifically defined and maintained are not generally made explicit. Additionally, key theoretical criteria required for a social licence, such as free, prior and informed consent, appear to be overlooked. In conclusion, the article suggests ways in which criteria for a social licence within the mining industry could be defined more clearly and raises consequent questions to shape future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: social licence to operate; mining; sustainable development; sustainability reports social licence to operate; mining; sustainable development; sustainability reports
MDPI and ACS Style

Bice, S. What Gives You a Social Licence? An Exploration of the Social Licence to Operate in the Australian Mining Industry. Resources 2014, 3, 62-80.

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