Senate approves graduate certificate in community relations for mining industries
A new certificate program is the first of its kind in North America to train professionals in building better relations between the mining industry and the communities they work in.
“Mining activities’ impacts on communities, both good and bad, create tensions between companies and communities, making work, life, and cooperative relationships difficult. Getting this relationship right is critically important for the success of a mine and for a community’s ability to benefit from a mines’ presence,” says Jeffrey Davidson, a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science who also developed the program at Queen’s University. “The shortage of skilled and experienced community relations practitioners has become a recognized and critical issue for responsible mineral resource development.”
The program addresses a societal need as both mining companies and communities grapple with complex issues.
In Canada alone there are over 100 communities with a population exceeding 600,000 that are dependent on the minerals industry. Canadian based mining companies face the challenge of building constructive and positive working and living relationships with mining affected communities not only within Canada, but also abroad.
Professor Davidson helped launch a similar program in Australia which has now been operating for four years. It has successfully trained over 150 professionals with a breadth of exposure to different issues who can work with either the mining company or the community.
This program is under review by the Council of Ontario Universities Quality Council.