Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility and Pluralism in Papua New Guinea
This paper discusses the emergence of an embryonic form of pluralism in the negotiation of development projects between local communities and multinational mining companies (MNMCs) as part of (the latter’s) corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The author draws on data gathered through long periods of fieldwork and observation of MNMCs, state and local communities interactions in the development and day to day operations of mines in PNG. The paper identifies factors which have led to the emergence of eager and sometimes restless local communities which host large mining projects and their unrelenting pressures on developers for tangible development projects. This has led to the establishment of appropriate institutional arrangement and therefore legitimizing the entry of local communities into the pluralistic negotiation process. The background to mining, complexity characterizing PNG mining and CSR and discussion of three mines’ CSR commitments are just some of the topics pursued in this paper. One theme is the pluralistic institutional framework facilitating local community participation and influencing in development agenda setting for MNMCs to honor whilst at the same time mining for ore. This unique arrangement giving unprecedented voice to formerly neglected spheres of state and MNMC concern has become exceptional for PNG local communities. This chapter contends that this mode of community participation at the peak decision making and influencing CSR function of MNMCs is both pluralistic and exceptional which is not common in most developing countries with mining economies. Therefore, Papua New Guineans have become active partners in mining development and had legitimized the process for a pluralistic approach to management and operation of mining projects in the country.
Keywords: Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility, Pluralism, Local Communities, Papua New Guinea
Dr. Benedict Imbun
Senior Lecturer, School of Management, University of Western Sydney