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Examining Corporate-sector Involvement in the Governance of Selected Mining-intensive Regions in Australia

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Mining companies are increasingly urged to contribute to the long-term economic and social well-being of host communities in regional Australia and are attempting to respond to such calls as part of a commitment to corporate social responsibility. Yet the nature and extent of their involvement in local affairs is not fixed or given, but is influenced by a host of factors including the kind of mine in operation, the remoteness of the local area, the presence or absence of other governmental stakeholders and the legacy of prior modes of mining industry intervention. This paper explores these issues in three different contexts: a company town considering normalisation; a mixed-economy region in which mining companies are required to play a greater role in local affairs than previously; and a fly-in, fly-out mine in a remote and sparsely populated region in which such opportunities to contribute to local life are limited. These studies illustrate the shifting responsibilities between public and private sectors, the changing expectations of each actor, and the ambiguity surrounding the responsibility of mining companies to participate in local governance.
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Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; governance; mining; patronage; sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Social Science/Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, SMI, University of Queensland,

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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