School of

Graduate Studies

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Community Relations For the Extractive Industries

Collage of Community relations



"A comprehensive professional approach to working with communities on their concerns and trade-offs is required. This ‘new competency’ means moving beyond traditional liaison and philanthropic gestures…very few academic institutions are providing teaching and qualifications in applied social science in the extractive sector. Queen’s is one; providing a leading-edge course in the heart of the mining faculty, as it should be. ”

Bruce Harvey, Global Practice Leader -Communities, Rio

Program Contact

Anne Johnson
Graduate Administrator
The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining,
Goodwin Hall, Room 354,
Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada, k7l 3n6,

Phone: 613.533.2230,

Program Overview

The certificate program in Community Relations for the Extractive Industries is the first of its kind in North America. The program addresses industry needs and community challenges and the political realities of countries in which the sector operates in particular the Americas. The shortage of skilled and experienced community relations practitioners has become a critical and a high risk issue for responsible and sustainable mineral resource development throughout the world. This program was conceived to help address this gap.


The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining at Queen’s University has established a credentialed pathway for learning and skills development in this difficult and challenging area of work. Industry managers and field practitioners, government representatives and community and civil society advocates will be introduced and sensitized to the complexities associated with building, maintaining and managing these relationships. The course draws on examples of both positive and conflicted company community-government encounters and uses group exercises to explore critical community issues and the competencies required for engaging in responsible mineral resource exploration and development.

Career paths – employment opportunities

The program will be of interest to people working in the field, at project sites, in affected communities - for exploration and mining companies, for government, and for community based organizations.

Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

The Certificate program can be completed on a part-time basis over one or two years.

Method of Completion

This program has 2 components. There are 4 core courses, which are delivered online. An additional component, the Community Relations Forum, a five day residential workshop provides intensive training with industry specialists.

Course Coordinators: Jeffrey Davidson (Queen’s University) and Pam Bourke (University of Queensland)


GCCR 801: Community Aspects of Mineral Resource Development.

This course provides students with a thorough understanding of community issues associated with mineral resource development. It provides context and examples to demonstrate how the industry response to these issues has changed over time. It introduces the topics of community development, community engagement, and indigenous issues which are further explored in subsequent courses.

GCCR 802: Community Development for the Mining Industry.

This course introduces a framework for understanding how community development (CD) theory, methods and techniques can be used by community relations practitioners working at mine sites or in mining communities. It familiarizes students with the “people centred” CD method. The course uses case studies and experiences drawn from the mining industry to illustrate and reinforce concepts and methodology.

GCCR 803: Community Engagement and Mining.

This course extends the exploration of a range of community development and community engagement domains, techniques and skills. It focuses on how the community relations practitioner can assist communities and companies to build sustainable, organized relationships and structures within the broader context of mining and development practice, locally, nationally and globally.

GCCR 804: Mining Projects and Indigenous Peoples.

This course examines the social, political, and economic relationships that exist between indigenous peoples and external parties in the development of commercial mining operations. The course will review specific social, political and economic issues arising from the engagement of indigenous peoples with the minerals industry, and the skill sets and knowledge base that are critical to negotiating relationships between indigenous peoples and mining companies.

Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

No minimum guaranteed funding is available. One or more scholarships per year may be available to students working for community-based organizations.

Fees CAD $12,000 for the program ($3000 per course)

Academic Prerequisites

Admission requirements for students entering the certificate program will include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a recognized university.
  • B- graduating average or higher (70% graduating average or a ranking in the top third of the graduating class where number grades are not available).
  • Under exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to highly motivated individuals with relevant field experience who do not meet the B- requirement
  • A statement of interest in the program will be required in order to ensure alignment of the applicant’s academic background, work experience, and career aspirations with the objectives of the program.

Although an Engineering degree is not required, relevant work experience in the area of Mining or other Extractive industries is essential.

Test Requirements

For international students, if required, a TOEFL total score of at least 580 (paper-based) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have he minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline: June 15th, 2014

How to Apply

Step 1: Download and complete a statement of interest form from the program website.

Step 2: Email the completed statement of interest to

Step 3: Based on Departmental feedback, proceed with School of Graduate Studies on-line application found at:

  • Your home department will be the Robert M Buchan Department of Mining.
  • An application fee of $105 is required to be paid at the time of your application
  • All supplementary paperwork as outlined in the application, must be sent into the School of Graduate Studies before your application can be considered.
Learning Outcomes

Degree Level Expectations - Graduate Certificate (232 KB)