An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required for a large-scale mining development application in a remote area in the Pacific Islands. As part of the EIA, a comprehensive community consultation program was undertaken to disclose project information and gather local community issues, concerns, and suggestions about the project development. Over 30 communities within the proposed mining area and transport routes were consulted, hundreds of comments were received.
Managing Community Consultation Feedback in EIA
Darzin was used to analyse the community comments which helped the environmental and social specialists shape their impact assessment focus and study boundaries. A ‘classification tree’ that comprised of themes and sub-themes was created in Darzin for the analysis of the community issues, concerns and suggestions. All community feedback was classified against categories on the tree. Ability to drill down to specific comments on specific categories provided rich understanding of the community’s way of life, their use of natural resources, and reasons behind their concerns about the project development. This in turn informed the EIA specialist team of areas that needed emphasis in the baseline studies and impact assessment process, as well as gaps that needed to be filled.
A number of reports were generated in Darzin on a regular basis as the consultation program progressed. They provided timely and accurate information in terms of key community issues, and any new issues that came to light that helped the management team adjust their study scope and schedule appropriately. The reports also helped the company in identifying potential support and risks, and informed strategic choices which could have far-reaching consequences for future stakeholder relations.