Mining and metals companies are acutely aware of the impact their activities can have on the health and well-being of communities local to where they operate. Through the implementation of robust impact assessment and risk management frameworks, companies are better able to understand the positive or negative impacts they are having on a community and then act to multiply the value of interventions supporting community health, safety and well-being.
ICMM’s work with members has resulted in the development of a health impact assessment methodology. Health impact assessment is a systematic approach to predicting and managing the potential positive and negative health effects of all kinds of proposals on local communities and the wider society. It seeks to understand pre-existing health concerns in a region, and identify, avoid and minimise unintended community health and well-being impacts that may arise over the life time of an operation.
Building on broader community focused engagements, health impact assessments nurture supporting partnerships with local health, social care, and welfare services to jointly alleviate health problems before they arise. While also making explicit and transparent the complexities of balancing community health and well-being with other social, environmental and economic objectives of a proposed project. Outcomes that will also help to negotiate those aspects of community health and well-being that are the responsibility of local government and those that are the responsibility of industry.
In strengthening the ability of companies to understand the potential health risks of operations, companies are better able to act responsibly towards communities that they affect and further earn their social licence to operate.