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CSIRO is Australia’s science agency. Everything we do is focused on creating measurable economic, environmental and social benefits that better our world and Australia’s place in it. Since 1916, we’ve been advancing Australia with inventions and innovations that have a positive impact on people’s lives around the world – from household products like Aerogard and Softly to everyday necessities like plastic bank notes and WiFi.

Mining and manufacturing that is innovative, productive, competitive and sustainable is vital to Australia’s current and future prosperity. We are providing expertise and knowledge to guide decisions and choices about mineral resource use strategies for the benefit of industry stakeholders and Australian and international communities.

The history of CSIRO’s social research in mining

The work that CSIRO is conducting with Terramin Australia is part of a larger CSIRO program of social science research in the CSIRO Mineral Resources Business Unit. This program focuses on understanding and informing the relationship between extractive industry companies and the communities in which they operate. This work aims to reflect the voice, concerns, aspirations, and experiences of community members both locally and nationally. The research findings inform companies, government bodies responsible for managing and regulating the extractive industries, and other important stakeholders in understanding issues important to communities.

CSIRO has conducted this work utilising robust social science methodologies for many years in Australia and internationally at proposed and existing mine sites. These are challenging and contested places to live and work, but is the reason CSIRO works with companies like Terramin Australia is to ensure that the voice of the community is heard consistently and faithfully by those that make decisions about how project proposals are assessed. In this way, projects like this one align closely with the Science and Industry Research Act 1949 that defines CSIRO’s purpose and the functions it undertakes for the benefit of Australia, which is to carry out scientific research for any of the following purposes:

  • Assisting Australian industry;
  • Furthering the interests of the Australian community;
  • Contributing to the achievement of Australian national objectives or the performance of the national and international responsibilities of the Commonwealth; and
  • Any other purpose determined by the Minister;
  • To encourage or facilitate the application or utilisation of the results of such research.

Through measuring and modelling the minerals industry’s social licence to operate we can develop benchmarks for social performance and allow stakeholders to engage with each other on the issues that matter.

The science behind Local Voices

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