Access to land is required to explore, develop, build, and operate a mine and its associated infrastructure, including linear facilities like pipelines and powerlines. Land access refers to all methods of obtaining land for exploration, mine development, and operations on a temporary or permanent basis. This may include outright purchase, expropriation, leases, and acquisition of access rights such as easements or rights of way.
The form land access takes, and the mechanisms applied to the transaction, depends on the local jurisdiction, legal requirements and the social/cultural values related to land tenure. For example, in some jurisdictions land tenure can be collective rather than private or belong to a set of traditional owners. In all jurisdictions, land can be a primary source of livelihood for local people, a resource of significant ecological value, and/or an irreplaceable asset linked to people’s heritage and cultural identity.
Access to land and the potential impact on people’s values, economic activities, and ecological services is therefore often complex with potentially long-term implications for the relationship between a mining company and the landowners, local communities, and other stakeholders.
For this reason, OceanaGold has developed the Responsible Land Access Principles that apply to all forms of land access, no matter the jurisdiction or type land tenure, in the design and management of land access:
- Avoidance of displacement impacts: Land access plans and programs will be based on a comprehensive assessment of both the physical and economic displacement the land access will cause. OGC will ensure displacement impacts are avoided and minimised where possible and mitigated when they occur in a manner that fosters trust and mutual respect;
- Fair market and replacement value: Compensation and benefits for land access arrangements will be based on fair market value and/or replacement value;
- Legal compliance and social legitimacy: All land access and resettlement will comply with applicable laws in the host jurisdiction and will also be socially legitimate. Social legitimacy means despite designated title, rights, or decision-making powers held by a person or communal owner/occupant, the transaction will consider who else in the household, extended family, or community level needs to be engaged in the land access process to ensure its long-term legitimacy and sustainability; and
- Fairness, equity, and transparency: Land access programs and execution of related transactions will strive to be considered fair and equitable by landowners/occupants, communities, government, and other stakeholders. Land access management plans will consider what aspects need to be addressed to achieve this, giving attention to ensuring transparency and consistency in the business units land access approach and compensation standards while respecting expectations for confidentiality.