Establishing a Social License to Operate in Mining

7 modules


Course Length
9 hours

Edumine Courses

10 Oct 2019



This is a course for anyone concerned with sustainable community relationships in mining: professionals, managers, regulators, NGOs, community leaders and graduate students. The course explains how a mining company can earn and maintain a social license to operate. It begins with the business case for dedicating resources to the social license and describes the returns a company could expect from each successive level of license. The course also explores what can be done to make the issuer of the license more politically stable so that the company's social political risk is reduced and the community's readiness for sustainable development is enhanced. Finally the course looks at the overlap between these activities and areas of corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, and sustainability reporting.

Part 1 of the course explains what a social license to operate is, why it is important to mining companies, and how the general management theory known as the "resource dependence view of competitive advantage" explains how relationships with stakeholders affect project feasibility and success.

Going deeper, Part 2 describes the four levels of social license and the three boundary criteria that must be met to go from one level to another, and examines common factors that can cause the level of social license to rise or fall.

Turning to the issuer of the social license, Part 3 of the course draws on social network analysis concepts to explore the many ways a community could be unable to issue a social license that is durable and socially legitimate, and looks beneath the stakeholder politics at the social capital patterns that can improve a community's capacity to issue a solid social license, while simultaneously raising the level of social license the community grants to the company.


  • Robert G. Boutilier PhD.
  • Ian Thomson PhD.


Duration: 9 Hours
Access: 90 Days
Category: Leadership
Level: Cross train
Version Date: October 3, 2014

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Course Content

Establishing a Social License to Operate in Mining is structured with three parts and a total of 12 learning sessions of 30-60 minutes each, plus interactive reviews. Course duration is equivalent to approximately nine hours of learning content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the concept, principles and business case for a social license to operate in mining, and the risks involved in ignoring the importance of a social license.
  • Identify the nature and dynamics of the stakeholder network, the role of social capital, and how to interact with communities to establish a legitimate social license to operate.
  • Identify the requirements of maintaining a durable social license to operate.

Recommended Background

  • A basic understanding and experience of mineral exploration and mining projects.
  • An appreciation of the requirements and objectives of communities in the context of mineral exploration and mining projects.


By completing/passing this course, you will attain the certificate Edumine Certification

Learning Credits

Table of contents
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Module 1: What is a Social License to Operate?
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Knowledge Check - Module 1: What is a Social License to Operate?
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Module 2: Measuring the Levels and Factors of the SLO
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Knowledge Check - Module 2: Measuring the Levels and Factors of the SLO
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Module 3: Raising Your Level of Social License
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Knowledge Check - Module 3: Raising Your Level of Social License
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Added 7 days ago, by Veronica Kapoma
Added 7 days ago, by Aubrey
The course was exceptional and insightful. The knowledge i have gained with make my work effective.
Added over 1 year ago, by Janet
Added about 2 years ago, by Gordon

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