Working With Communities and Landholders

S2's approach to engaging with landholders, local communities and other stakeholders is to build relationships and high levels of trust wherever we operate, by proactive early engagement to show our commitment to operating in a communicative, open and transparent manner that is not only respectful to communities and stakeholders, but is also mindful of concerns raised.

We do not use the common ‘social licence’ terminology as this is often used with a short-term mentality in order to simply gain access to ground, with the focus being on risks to the business, rather than risks to the community. Instead, we strive to become a socially responsible and accepted member of the communities in which we operate, by placing a strong emphasis on avoiding the potential negative impacts up-front, rather than simply mitigating them.

Community Engagement Management System (CEMS)

The S2 CEMS is a set of internal standards and procedures used as a planning tool for community engagement activities. It applies to all employees and contractors and is one of S2’s critical management documents governed by our overarching policies. Our system measures and monitors our exploration impact. The guiding principles of S2 community engagement are set by the Board and outlined in our Community Engagement Policy.

S2 believes that one generic management system does not allow the flexibility and adaptability required to address the issues, concerns and values that may arise at a project level, so our system has a global document (Part A) which sets the framework, and a specific management system (Part B) that addresses local legislation, and particular requirements for each project.

This is exemplified in Figure 1 below.

The key components of S2's CEMS are summarised below:

  • Introduction
    • Purpose and Objectives
    • Community Engagement & Relations Policy
  • Community Engagement Management Structure
    • Organisational Chart
    • Exploration Manager Role
    • Community Engagement Officer Role
  • Communication Objectives, Principles and Approach
    • Communication Objectives
    • Engagement Principles
    • Social Framework
  • Community and Stakeholder Analysis
    • Stakeholder Identification and Categorisation
    • Stakeholder Group Analysis and Engagement Strategy
  • Issues Analysis and Response
    • Issues Register
    • Key Issues Identified
    • Engagement Tools and Techniques
  • Heritage Management
    • Heritage Identification and Recording (protection and preservation)
  • Stakeholder Complaints Management
    • Complaints Register & Procedure
  • Performance Management
    • Monitoring
    • Audit Process

Critical to any community engagement is a model to highlight the social issues that influence people’s well-being. S2’s social framework model is adapted from Smyth and Vanclay (2017) and is used to understand people’s values, aspirations and expectations, possible impacts and planning issues of the project, and potential mitigation and enhancement measures. Eight categories span the range of social factors that need to be considered, which interconnect, overlap, and vary according to local contextual issues (Figure 2 below).

This model can be applied at the local, regional and national levels and throughout a project’s advancement and development stages.

S2 acknowledges that in order to build and maintain trust within communities we must ensure the correct level of community engagement is applied to various stakeholders, and that this is subject to the proposed activities. The tables below are used to classify stakeholders’ potential impacts and to assign an engagement level. This will change with the nature of the activity or issue and is used as a guide only. S2 understands that both real and perceived risks to individuals or stakeholders should be considered equally and incorporated when undertaking stakeholder group analysis. This has been developed to be broadly consistent with the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) best practice, with our engagement channels being interchangeable with those defined under the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation.

Upon commencement of any new project, as stipulated by S2’s CEMS, a community engagement officer is assigned from within our organisation.  The responsibilities of the Community Engagement Officer include:

  • assist the Exploration Manager to ensure all exploration activities conform to local legal requirements
  • ensure exploration activities conform to S2’s CEMS
  • ensure all employees and contractors are aware of their responsibilities and duties in relation to community engagement
  • actively and openly communicate with relevant stakeholders in accordance with the CEMS as the company’s direct point of contact for community engagement

This person may also be supported by external consultants with the necessary training, skills, and local knowledge, to assist with community engagement at the project level. Wherever possible, external consultants will have accredited training or certification (ie, IAP2 certification).