School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Social Performance Management in the Extractive Industries

Collage of Community relations



“My experience in the GCCR at Queen’s was a real eye opener. I experienced a paradigm shift not only in the way I think about community relations, but also in the way I see relations between people on a fundamental level. By focusing on iissues that are at the centre of the relationship between mining companies and communities, and focusing on one’s own perceptions and how one builds relationship with others, the program prepares professionals to work in an environment that is very different from that of years past. It has personally helped me a great deal in how I engage with community members, and in how I make the business case for community engagement within the organization."

Jonathan Warner, Both Sides Now Consulting 

Program Contact

Kate Cowperthwaite
Graduate Assistant
The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining,
Goodwin Hall, Room 354,
Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada, K7L 3N6,

Phone: 613.533.6000 x 79312,

Program Overview

Whether from industry, communities, or government, this new program is designed to equip professionals and decision makers with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage the social risks associated with mineral resource projects (from exploration to extraction and processing through to transport).

In a context where industry constraints and obligations must be balanced against evolving societal expectations, an uncertain global economy and competing visions of development, managing the social risk associated with the extractive industries is increasingly challenging. 

The SPMEI program has been developed in consultation with community relations and sustainability experts from industry, Aboriginal advisors, as well as leading thinkers and practitioners.  The program structure emphasizes the balance that must be sought between community development aspirations and business constraints.   Casting a critical lens on the sometimes contentious relationship between the goals and methods of government-industry and those of communities, whose ways of life are most affected by large scale industrial projects, the program’s curriculum supports students in developing insight into the role of culture as it shapes values, perceptions of risk, and receptiveness to extractive projects.

Participants will develop in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the values that underpin the diverse perspectives that meet when a project is proposed, and, as importantly, to develop the skills needed to bridge understanding gaps and build the trust that is the foundation of resilient and mutually beneficial relationships across cultures.  The program equips graduates to design community relations and benefit sharing strategies that improve a community’s quality of life and contribute to its sustainability, while delivering value to shareholders and the Canadian economy.

The SPMEI Graduate Diploma consists of four courses, delivered in an online and asynchronous format.  The program may be completed over two or four 12 week terms, and courses may be applied to an M.Eng. or M.A.Sc.*

Course Code / Course Title

MINE 800: Mining Systems and Processes

MINE 801: Community Aspects of Mineral Resource Development

MINE 802: Community Relations for Community Resilience

MINE 804: Mining Projects and Indigenous Peoples


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.