Social Licence to Operate - How to Address the Three Eyed Fish
Joseph Doleschal-Ridnell BLLP, BIS (Hons)
Project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc (Energy and Resources), UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia
The social licence to operate is said by many in industry to be nearing the importance of the legal licence given by regulators to explore and mine endowments. This spoken importance is not, however, matched with rigorous methodological analysis of what obtaining and demonstrating a social licence to operate constitutes. Does it require one to consider the social utility of a mining development? Must all possible stakeholders have their views consulted and incorporated? Are all views considered equal, or are the loudest stakeholders given the most attention and companies with superior financial resources most likely to have their social licence obligations met? Will the emergence of the social licence to operate alter the status quo, or is it merely a change in semantics? With specific focus on the uranium industry, this dissertation explores a number of different understandings of the social licence and promotes a number of ways that it can be obtained and demonstrated. If the social licence is to develop as a concept in itself rather than a self-serving catchphrase, a number of conceptual ambiguities must be reconciled and an objective methodology developed. This dissertation begins such a process.