October 28-30, 2024 

Golden, Colorado USA

About this course…

Communities and the Extractive Sector: A New Paradigm towards Good Social Performance is a three-day intensive workshop that will provide a comprehensive picture of where mining and oil and gas sit in terms of engagement with the external world, particularly with local communities. The course will argue strongly that achieving a social license to operate is a business imperative and that companies risk not only costs and delays but their very survival in not doing so. It can be done well! The course is designed to be practical with immediate application to participants’ day-to-day work.

One widely held traditional view of business is that, by and large, only shareholders matter. Measurements around success with these involve production figures, short-term profit margins, and share price. The advent of the notion of ‘stakeholder’ heralds a new, much more black and white metric: know who your stakeholders are and manage them well or your business will not survive much less thrive. This message of focusing on longer-term business considerations, stakeholder relations, license to operate and sustainability is increasingly permeating corporate boardrooms and even the investor community. These issues are particularly acute in the natural resource sector where mineral deposits cannot be moved; if there are people — for instance, communities — living on top of these resources, permits are necessary (legal license) but wholly insufficient for establishing and maintaining a social license to operate. Hence, the concept of ‘social performance’ is critical: how well does a business engage ‘outside the fence’ with communities and other external stakeholders, and the business implications of this. These shifts in business thinking along with a corresponding proliferation of standards and best practices necessitate new competencies to deliver on both corporate and stakeholder value expectations.

Methodology of presentation for the course will include active participation tools such as scenario planning, case study analysis, role play and facilitated small group discussions as well as presentations.

Course Contents

The course will use global case studies from all over the world, including the US, to illustrate the typical problems that businesses face in dealing with communities. It will also present solutions. The content will primarily draw on experiences in the natural resource sector, including mining and oil & gas. However, increasingly other sectors and industries are facing similar problems.  Throughout our course, this will be an important topic for discussion: the similarities and differences between the mining and oil & gas sectors, but also those between these extractives and other industries.

Specific topics to cover will include:

  • Introduction to the concept of social performance (SP), and the business case for its integration into the technical and commercial aspects of a project or operation
  • Social license to operate
  • SP and ESG
  • Understanding your social context
  • Risk and impact identification, mapping and management
  • Stakeholder engagement (‘Meaningful Engagement’)
  • Communication/consultation mechanisms
  • Shared value, including local content/supply chain and social investment
  • Conflict and Outrage, including grievance management
  • Social aspects of Closure
  • Communities and mine tailings management (new Globlal Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM)
  • Sustainable Development Goals and their relevance to each stage of an operation
  • Governance, transparency and anti-corruption, particularly at project/ops level (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)
  • Human rights
  • Indigenous peoples and Free, Prior & Informed Consent
  • Resettlement
  • Community agreements: A secret success tool
  • Global standards including International Finance Corporation Performance Standards
  • Dealing with Civil Society/NGOs; regulators

Activities will include lectures, small group case study exercises, scenario/role play and videos. Additionally, participants are invited to bring examples and questions to the course for discussion. There will be two refreshment breaks each day plus a light lunch.


The Master Class is designed for both practitioners and corporate managers who wish to understand this new paradigm of describing, understanding and implementing a system built around the ‘social performance’ of a company or a project. Participants will typically come from functional areas variously termed Community Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility, External Affairs, Government Relations, Communications, etc. In addition, participants who may in their companies be moving from a disciplinary area such as Environmental to a Social Performance role will particularly benefit from the class. The course is also likely to include participants from financial institutions supporting extractive projects and companies, NGO personnel and government regulators. The workshop has generally included participants from all over the world.

Course program

The course program highlights topics that will be covered in the course. Learn more…

Continuing Education Credits

Colorado School of Mines will award 2.0 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) to participants who complete this course.

Comments from participants

I have learned more in these three days than in my eight months in the mining industry.

Strength was the variety of topics, extremely engaging, wonderful group of varying experiences.

What a wonderful learning experience.

The instructor was a perfect mix of industry expertise and academic background.

Very valuable and broad; good examples from a variety of contexts

I was thrilled with the overall course.

The instructors were very knowledgeable and personable.

Great to have such a vast list of resources to utilize.

Very open and inviting

Significant strength of the program was the role play and other practical activities; also the bibliography

Instructor has incredible experiences and it was great to learn from his vast knowledge. Loved the relatable experiences to the class content.

Very knowledgeable instructor, great layout and content

Experienced instructor, great communicator

Great interplay between the work group sessions and the topics covered.

Experienced instructor with real life examples

Significant strength of the course was the experiences of the facilitator that allowed us to see each topic from different perspectives.

The program is great! Content was wow, wow, wow!

First of all, thank you so much for a wonderfully informative and thought-provoking workshop. I learned a great deal from you, and from colleagues in the fantastic group. I hope the Masterclass was seen as a great success by the CSM and that we can all look forward to this becoming an annual event!


Registration information for the Fall course is now available. Learn more…


The course will be taught on the campus of Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado USA. Learn more…

Travel and Lodging

Registrants are responsible for their own travel arrangements, transportation, lodging, and meals. Additional information is available through the link below.

Course Presenter

The course material will be presented by Dr. Chris Anderson, who is one of the extractive world’s leading Communities and Social Performance practitioners. He has worked on some of the most difficult projects with seemingly intractable community issues. Learn more…

Further Technical Information

Dr. Chris Anderson
Yirri Global
Greenwood Village, Colorado
Email: JChrisAnderson@Yirri.Global
Web: Click/tap here

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