Students:Mining company group instructions
Background information: what the landscape means for us
We are not particularly interested in landscape as a whole – for us it is more or less a source of mineral resources It is also a challenge to revitalize its functions after the mining activity is finished.
Who we are
We represent the management of the mining company that came into the region after the privatisation of the mines inherited from the communist regime. We negotiated the economic conditions of the privatisation with the CZ government: that means firstly its responsibility for the damage that had already been caused before the change of ownership. We definitely want to adhere very closely to all directives and regulations, and contribute to the development of the region to a certain extent. On the other hand, we fulfil national economic needs above all else: ensuring energy for its metabolism so we cannot be too idealistic.
What we want
Our first priority is profit (without the pejorative sense of the word). Then we need predictable norms and policy decisions. The support of the local people and their representatives would be beneficial for our company, but we are rather detached from local and regional social conditions to really bother if it is lacking. We need people to understand that even though mining is environmentally devastating it is in the entire nation’s interest that we fuel the country’s economic growth with our coal, otherwise we will become a backward country. You can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg!
What do we need to explore (potential themes for dialogue with local stakeholders)
Ask local people about the limits of their tolerance and examine the trade-offs they are prepared to make between employment opportunities, financial assistance and the environment Ask representatives of local governments about their plans and the rules to be imposed on us.
Do we want to have a dialogue with NGOs? Oh yes, we have to respond to their claims and appeals, but we have a specialized professional communication team for that and we are not fond of informal discussions. What might be useful for us is their “secret” strategy…
Scientists? We have our own to carry out independent research. We are not overly concerned with contrary scientific views because we have total faith in our own people… Are we posing some research questions? We are just thinking about some of them…
Demands towards the other groups
- Environmentally oriented NGOs – we need to develop mutual understanding. But on what basis? That’s a real challenge…
- Local people – they represent a workforce for us, from the others (non-employees) we need some tolerance. We also need to persuade those who will be potentially re-settled because of the expansion of mining activities in the area –we have to “buy” their tolerance and we need to know “at which price”
- Tourists – they do not interest us too much. But we are offering an interesting excursion – a real rarity – and hope that this will build up a positive image of us.
- @ we argue that revitalized landscape (lakes) would attract more of them – another good argument for breaking environmental mining limits!
- Scientists – objectivity does not exist in complex issues – the “right way around” is non-existent. We can get data from some of them that might support our interests.
- Regional government – we expect all the services & development strategy that takes our interests into account.
What we are offering
- For a group of locals, we are offering quite extraordinary jobs (compared with local opportunities)
- On a systemic level, we offer subsidies to be invested into social, environmental etc. regional projects
- In addition, we bring industrial development to the region. We hope that an overall boost to the economy would follow (although this is true rather for the national or European level *because of energy distribution schemes)
- We distribute quite reasonable information about our activities, don’t you think?
Tasks for the group
Compile accessible information about past and present mining company activities – text: 2 pages long that provides a kind of “company identity” statement based on facts, including an ethical charter.
Receive input from local people – you should question those you meet during the lectures, visits and excursions, or in normal conversation when you meet somebody relevant “in the street”. Concentrate on those representatives of real stakeholders that could affect your business activities.
Use “value neutral” information from diverse sources when preparing your SWOT analysis of current situation (natural and other conditions, policy, institutions and authorities, services that you need,…) – positives, negatives, risks, opportunities.
Using the outcome of the SWOT, express your interests clearly (relevant for the current policy debate) – you might use the opinions of the local people you have explored in conversations on various occasions or discard them. All your interests and not just purely economic issues should be oriented toward an overall development strategy, including post-mining activities. As your group is quite homogeneous, however, you have to agree on a list of priorities for future development.
Develop your arguments for supporting your visions of future, and identify the area for negotiation with other groups: find your own positions and ethical reasoning that should be defended against those groups, acknowledge those interests which you could occasionally compromise on – at what expense??
On this basis, develop a strategy for the most appropriate regional development that you will defend against the other interest groups, identify potential conflicts that should be negotiated, and prepare yourself for the final negotiation & conflict resolution process!
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