The Costs of Conflict with Local Communities in the Extractive Industry

This conference paper reports emerging findings from a research project into the costs of company-community conflict in the extractive industry. Drawing on over 40 in-depth interviews with key individuals from extractive companies, industry bodies, corporate law firms, insurers and research institutes, and detailed case analysis, the paper identifies a "typology" of potential costs that can arise for extractive companies at different stages of a project's life cycle. It outlines some of the challenges and potential benefits associated with quantifying such costs in making the business case for better . This paper was presented at the First International Seminar on Social Responsibility in Mining, Santiago, Chile in October 2011. It forms part of a research project led by the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative (CSRI) at Harvard Kennedy School in collaboration with the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) at the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland, Australia. One of its authors, Rachel Davis, is Managing Director of Shift.