Mining under the Sustainable Development Framework

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Up until the late 1990s, the mining industry as a whole has been scrutinised for being unsuitable. In response to heavy criticism, nowadays several mining companies has adopted sustainable development principles, namely the ICMM sustainable development Framework. The adoption of this framework led to mining companies adapting their sustainability strategies and initiatives to best fit the framework. This also suggest that mining companies can help trigger local economic development. This thesis examines how a mining company has used the principles under the framework in their initiatives to contribute to sustainable economic development. The research undergoes a single case study analysis focusing on Gold Fields. This work, by using the local economic development theory confirms that mining plays and contributes in an important way to local economies. The main argument this thesis bring is that mining companies can indeed help to contribute to local economic growth, however their potential to do so has been underestimated. This study reaches three conclusions that Gold Fields has done to contribute to sustainable economic development. First, the company has localised their initiates by creating programs that directly address social needs. Second, the company have focused on both indirect and direct forms of employment, and their more important, GF has increased knowledge and skills in society. Moreover, they have used local capital to create competitive advantage. Lastly, the local conditions where mines are located impacted the outcome of Gold Fields programs, and moreover highlighted that the responsibility to contribute to local economic development, is a shared responsibility between multi-level actors. Meaning that forming collaborations with local government actors to increase the human capital. The thesis concludes that Gold Fields is a catalyser of sustainable economic development in the region and the company has adapted the framework to best suit the local context.

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