Skip to content


Community relations and social license: How the mining industry creates better outcomes

Officials at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico started a planned burn in 2000, but unfulfilled requests and difficult conditions caused the test burn to be difficult to manage. The fire grew into the Cerro Grande Wildland Fire, which destroyed 235 homes and 39 laboratory buildings, burned over 48,000 acres, and caused $1 billion in damage.

What does the Cerro Grande Fire teach the mining industry about community relations? Unexpected events are frequently caused by a cascading sequence of smaller failures. These small events give subtle clues that are hard to identify but easy to remedy, so managing the unexpected means that we need strong responses to weak signals.

Here are best management practices for mining companies  from Haley & Aldrich’s Mining Market Segment Leader Eric Mears to help establish and maintain social license and preserve legislative, political, and regulatory relationships.  This was originally presented at  the State and County Community Relations and Compliance Seminar hosted by the Arizona Rock Products Association (ARPA), Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and Maricopa County Air Quality.