Aspect Specific DMA
Good community relations are as important for our business as the effective management of our operations. The operational sites host a range of regular and ongoing activities, such as “Open House” events, where the public is invited to visit the plant and to get information in an informal way, and “Public Consultations” (Samrådsmöten), where the public is invited to discuss special issues under more formal circumstances. There is always an open channel for individuals within the community to present concerns and complaints to the company. Specially assigned employees have a regular contact with neighbours and sometimes even visit people in their homes to discuss matters of concern.
SO1 Local community engagement
Boliden is a mature company and local community involvement activities exists in all main locations. Boliden’s business operations are often of considerable importance in terms of employment, making Boliden an important local stakeholder. This means that community engagement is already implemented and that the need for further impact assessments is limited to the occasions where it is necessary to drastically change the scope or focus of Boliden’s operations. Social impact assessments can be made in conjunction with closure of an operation, in order to assess any consequences to the community and in an effort to mitigate, as far as possible, any negative effects.
The Group’s operations not only have a substantial impact on job opportunities but also affect suppliers’ purchasing power elsewhere in the local business sector, which, in the long term, impacts the development of the communities’ service sectors. Boliden estimates that for each Boliden employee, another three to five local job opportunities are, on average, created.
Local involvement in the form of support for and partnerships with voluntary organisations and associations are other ways in which Boliden can make a positive contribution to the areas in which the company operates. Boliden’s support focuses primarily on local sporting and cultural events, schools and hospitals, often linked to children and young people. In 2016, Boliden’s units sponsored local activities to the tune of approximately SEK 7 million (SEK 6 m).
Dialogue is ongoing with the numerous stakeholders impacted. It is primarily conducted through discussion and cooperation but also involves social impact assessments to meet some specific needs.
Measurements are carried out on a continual basis to monitor any impact on the local community in relation to the environment in the form, for example, of dust, noise, vibrations and shockwaves from blasting. Methods have also been put in place for assessing impact, e.g. through changes to traffic, the landscape, water access and land access.
When analysing complaints about vibration from blasting, for example, the blasting schedule was changed so that most people would still be at work, rather than relaxing at home. This resulted in a significant decrease in the number of complaints.
Keeping the interests of the local community high on the agenda when planning and executing mining and smelting operations is vital to maintaining good relations with the employees, their families and their neighbours, and is an essential part of being a responsible corporate citizen. Failing to maintain these good relations would be a threat to the operation, as it would hamper the ability to attract a competent workforce and would jeopardise any potential expansion.
MM6 Number and description of significant disputes relating to land use, customary rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples
An exploitation concession application for the development project in Laver (potential mine site in Northern Sweden) has been processed by the Mining Inspectorate of Sweden during the reporting period. In December 2016, The Chief Mining Inspector decided to reject Boliden’s application for a mining concession for the deposit in Laver. The grounds for this decision are that a Natura 2000 permit for extracting the deposit has to be obtained before the concession can be granted. The Norrbotten County Council earlier (2015) rejected Boliden´s application with reference to the area´s environmental interest and its importance to the reindeer industry. Boliden is considering lodging an appeal regarding these decisions with the government.
The area around Laver is designated as an area of national interest for the Semisjaur-Njarg Sami village and an impact assessment of any mining operations in the area has, therefore, been conducted in cooperation with the relevant Sami village.
Boliden has routines for informing and involving nearby and local residents. When the company applies for new exploration permissions or to expand the operation, there are mechanisms such as open house events and post-exploration forums that enable nearby and local residents and businesses to state their opinion. Some parts of these processes are required by law.