Land acquisition and resettlement is a sometime painful and emotionally charged component that often accompanies new development. Mining companies are frequently in the forefront of this component and it is for this reason that the ICMM released, in 2015, its publication, Land Acquisition and Resettlement, which outlines the lessons learned from a benchmarking study into 41 resettlement projects worldwide.
The publication provides recommendations for managing the resettlement of local communities who have been displaced or whose livelihoods have been impacted due to the presence of mining. This includes ensuring adequate compensation and development opportunities. It recognises that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for successful resettlement activities, but there are many useful lessons to learn from past experience.
Resettlement remains a very challenging area for companies despite clear global standards around resettlement and land acquisition, notably that of the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 5.
The document is structured around 10 modules that cover planning, stakeholder engagement, compensation, livelihood restoration and monitoring impacts among other topics. The modules are based on material originally generated through research for a benchmarking report supported by ICMM members Gold Fields, Rio Tinto and Glencore.
Some of the key challenges of resettlement include not commencing the planning early enough, or investing in enough human or financial resources to ensure impacts are assessed and mitigated, and that benefits are shared in a sustainable way. This can result in grievances from resettled and host communities that can have negative follow-on impacts including conflict between stakeholders and disruptions to operations. Projects that do invest in planning resettlement appropriately have been shown to gain the trust of local communities and develop collaborative relationships with governments.