What we do

Since 2001, SMI-CSRM has contributed to industry change towards sustainable development through social science research projects, advisory and consulting work, teaching, training and the convening of multi-stakeholder dialogue processes.

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CSRM contributes to UQ’s Masters of Leadership in Global Development

As part of UQ’s new flagship Masters of Leadership in Global Development, SMI-CSRMs senior staff are developing a new course called Private Sector and Development. The course will cover the history of business and society and corporate social responsibility. It will also explore hot topics such as business and human rights, supply chain and agreement-making with local communities.

Building a national framework for dialogue in Chile

CSRM is providing expert appraisal of a national initiative in Chile to build a framework for community-company-government dialogue in the context of large investment projects. CSRM is providing feedback on the framework’s four components: dialogue, dispute resolution, skills certification and financing. 


Seed grant awarded: Agreements research in PNG

CSRM was awarded an SMI collaborative seed grant to support research in PNG about the role of agreements between resource companies and local project area communities. 

International symposium on ASM with Prof Gavin Hilson

CSRM will host Professor Gavin Hilson for a Visiting Sabbatical in August. Gavin will hold a one-day seminar that will engage critically with debates on ASM, poverty and livelihoods, with a view to broadening understanding of how the sector builds rural resilience and informing policy in this area. Industry participants, students, researchers and other interested parties are welcome.

Anglo American Advanced Sustainability Management Program

For the eighth year, SMI-CSRM, in collaboration with the Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) is delivering the Advanced Sustainability Management Program to senior leaders within the Anglo American. The aim of the programme is to develop informed, skilled and effective managers able to offer critical leadership to manage the economic, environmental and social impacts of the global mining industry.

Anglo American: Corporate relations responses to emerging mining technologies

Mining is a high impact industry, as are the new technologies that are shaping its future. The purpose of the project is to enhance Anglo American’s understanding of the socio-political risks and opportunities associated with the development, application and implementation of new technologies at the project and operational level. The focus is on mine automation and water-less mining.

Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) within a human rights framework: Lessons from a Suriname case study

In February 2016, Newmont Mining commissioned RESOLVE to convene the Merian Expert Advisory Panel to consider matters relating to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) within a human rights framework at its Merian mine in Suriname, South America. SMI-CSRM’s Director is serving on the Panel. The report will be publicly available in 2017.

CSRM Chairs Independent Panel of Observers on PJV resettlement pilot in PNG

After conducting an initial review, in 2015, and producing a public report on the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) pilot off-lease resettlement project, SMI-CSRM was appointed to Chair an Independent Panel of Observers (“the Panel”). The Panel’s primary function is to observe project activities associated with the PJV pilot off-lease resettlement project, engage with project stakeholders, and to report on key developments as the company, government and landowner stakeholders attempt to progress the pilot project. The Panel reports to the project Committees, not any one stakeholder.

Leveraging greater impact of mineral sustainability initiatives: an assessment of interoperability

Commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Extractives and Development Programme, SMI-CSRM is conducting a research project on the interoperability of sustainability initiatives relevant to mining and metals supply chains. The project report and a case study of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative will be available in the second half of 2017.

CSRM-led Australia Awards Africa short course

In July and September, CSRM led the Australia Awards Africa short course on local economic and social development in extractive industries. There were 25 participants from eleven countries in Africa. The Australia Awards are DFAT’s flagship program for building capacity in mid-career African professionals working in extractive industries. This is the 5th time CSRM has led these courses.

Safer gemstone cutting in Jaipur

CSRM and MISHC are working with the American Gem Traders Association and Work Place Health and Safety Without Borders to improve health and safety in gemstone manufacturing. The project will be piloted in Jaipur (India) in early 2018. This work is funded through the GemHub, and supported by the Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Read more.

AEMEE workshop on indigenous participation in resource sector supply chains at CSRM

In August, CSRM hosted an industry workshop to test the AEMEE Indigenous Procurement Evaluation Tool. The workshop was facilitated by Adjunct Professor, Christine Charles.  The tool was refined after the workshop and presented at the 2017 AEMEE conference in Cairns in October.

Social closure and community agreements

CSRM is conducting research on the social, cultural and political dimensions of mine closure at a regional and local level. The first stage of this project is an Australian based scoping study, the aim of which is to understand the extent of the research gap and also the practical extent of the issue.

Multi-stakeholder governance for greater transparency across the mining life cycle

Enabled by an SMI collaborative seed grant, SMI-CSRM has established a research collaboration between SMI-CSRM and the Mining for Sustainable Development Program of Transparency International Australia (TIA). The collaboration will explore multi-stakeholder initiatives as a vehicle for greater transparency in the mining sector.

Assessing the impacts of mining in Myanmar for the UNDP

In September, researchers from CSRM and CMLR completed a final mission to Myanmar to finalise the assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of mining in Mandalay Region for UNDP’s Poverty Environment Initiative. The research team will return to Myanmar in December to present their findings to a multi-stakeholder group, including government, civil society and industry.

Updating Vale Minerals Malaysia’s socio-economic diagnosis

In October, CSRM completed the final stage of research for a project to update a socio-economic diagnosis for Vale Minerals in Malaysia. The diagnosis will be used as a key input into the design of a new five-year social investment plan being developed by CSRM for Vale’s large iron ore distribution terminal in Lumut.

Social impact assessment (SIA) training for PNG’s Mineral Resource Authority

Senior CSRM staff will travel to Port Moresby in December to deliver social impact assessment (SIA) training for the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA). The course will provide MRA staff with skills and knowledge necessary to understand and critically evaluate SIAs and other studies produced by mining companies for operations in PNG..

Inclusive planning for post-mining use of land by graziers in Central Queensland.

This ACARP project, being conducted in collaboration with Central Queensland University, tackles a looming problem for the coal mining industry: what happens after mining? At the core of the project are workshops with a panel of landholders with experience of uses of mining land and potential interest in future use of such territory.

Lessons from the Gulf Communities Agreement

Under a multi-year partnership agreement with MMG, SMI-CSRM continued its long-standing involvement with the community performance of Century Mine (now finished production). SMI-CSRM produced a report that reflects on 20 years of this landmark agreement provide valuable insights for governance arrangements of land use and impact and benefit agreements with Indigenous People.

Social performance scenario trial in South Africa

In September CSRM finalised and trialled a new social performance scenario exercise, designed for Anglo American PLC. The exercise was trialled at Anglo's Mogolakwena operation in South Africa, and involved the site management team. The project was supported by Anglo American's Centre for Experiential Learning and Corporate Relations Integration groups.

Improving social risk management systems and practice

Through SMI-ICE Chile, SMI-CSRM is providing tailored best-practice based support for Codelco (Chile’s national mining company) in improving their social impact and risk management practices and systems. The company is focused on increasing its capacity to implement international standard systems and practice.

Social risk management training for Codelco, Chile

In August, CSRM continued its collaboration with Chile’s Copper Mining Corporation, Codelco, delivering a three-day introductory training course for sustainability department staff in social risk management.

Assessing human rights in artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso

SMI-CSRM is working on an European Union (EU) funded project in collaboration with the international NGO Eau Vive to conduct a human rights assessment of artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso. Tensions between large scale miners and exploration is another challenging area in relation to the right to work.

Building capacities in mining sector governance in Niger

SMI-CSRM, through the MEfDA partnership with the University of Western Australia, has been commissioned by DFAT to support mining sector governance in Niger until 2018. On-going work under this program will include follow-up working groups from the workshop and further training and capacity building activities.

Scholars symposium on human migration, development and the global mining industry

SMI-CSRM will host an international scholars symposium in August 2017. The Symposium provides a forum for direct scholarly exchange between international scholars actively publishing at the nexus of resettlement, in-migration, and small scale artisanal mining. The symposium will provide the foundation for a special issue in a high ranking peer reviewed journal.

Papua LNG project human rights impact assessment

The Danish Institute for Human Rights and SMI-CSRM have collaborated on a human rights impact assessment for the proposed Papua LNG Project in Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea operated by Total E&P PNG. The report forms part of the baseline studies for the project, and a public version will be made available.

Reefton mine closure social impact assessment scoping study

OceanaGold has engaged SMI-CSRM to undertake a scoping study for the development of a social impact monitoring program for the recently closed Reefton mine in the South Island of New Zealand.

Papua LNG project indigenous peoples study

Total E&P PNG engaged SMI-CSRM to undertake an Indigenous Peoples study for the proposed Papua LNG Project in Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. This involved a desktop study to establish whether the people residing within the project area can be classified as ‘indigenous’ according to established international criteria as a basis for triggering free, prior and informed consent processes.

Newcrest Social Performance Leadership Program for 2018 

In 2017, CSRM and Newcrest Mining successfully delivered Newcrest’s first Social Performance Leadership Program for senior company employees. The program aims to improve social performance across Newcrest's operations globally. The course includes two residential weeks at UQ and group projects in the time between. CSRM and Newcrest team will welcome a second cohort to UQ in 2018, with the first residential week scheduled for January.

International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM)

CSRM is working with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) to develop case studies on how ICMM members contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim is to identify and develop a series of case studies, both to showcase ICMM member contributions to the achievement of the SDGs and to demonstrate examples of how companies can contribute.



We work with government and industry via Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage projects, our collaborations with the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) and other peak industry bodies.

We also work with small to medium-sized companies focused on improving their sustainability performance; and collaborate with international organisations, such as the Internation Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank, and NGOs and civil society organisations, including Oxfam and the Responsible Mining Initiative (Mongolia).

Our industry partners include some of the largest resources companies globally - Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Newmont Mining, Xstrata, Anglo American, BG Group and Vale.

Rio Tinto

The Rio Tinto - SMI-CSRM partnership was established at the end of 2006, and is now in its fifth year. This is an important and unique association where Rio Tinto and SMI-CSRM collaborate on a program of research and associated activities around corporate social performance and sustainable development, to assist Rio Tinto to monitor and enhance the effectiveness of their social and environmental investments, and also to provide research and training services. 

The partnership is coordinated through a Steering Committee comprising key personnel from Rio Tinto and SMI-CSRM. The Steering Committee define an annual work program, review performance against project and program milestones, identify opportunities for involving other Rio businesses and disseminate knowledge internally and externally.

A major project undertaken through the partnership has been the development of a Decision Support Framework related to town 'normalisation' and the management of the impacts of rapid workforce growth on mining-related communities. Another project currently being undertaken involves assisting 3 selected Rio Tinto sites in Australia in rolling out the new Global Community Target. 

If you would like more information about the Rio Tinto Partnership, please contact Dr Deanna Kemp on d.kemp@smi.uq.edu.au

Queensland Gas Company

In late 2009, a three year research partnership was formalised between SMI-CSRM and Queensland Gas Company (QGC), part of the BG Group. Under this agreement, SMI-CSRM provides independent, third-party research, advisory and training services to help QGC achieve its social performance aspirations. SMI-CSRM and BG Group also collaborate on a range of globally focussed research projects.

The collaboration is coordinated through a Steering Committee comprising key personnel from QGC and BG Group, and SMI-CSRM. The objectives of the partnership are to support QGC in meeting its social performance commitments, contribute to the professional development of personnel working in social performance both with QGC and BG Group, contribute to the social performance knowledge base and appropriately communicate findings internally and externally.

A major project undertaken through the partnership has been to work with the QCLNG project team to establish a Sustainable Development and Monitoring Indicator Framework for its project areas. Another project has involved providing assistance to QGC with the development and implementation of the community committees within the QCLNG.  

If you would like more information about the QGC Research Collaboration, please contact Dr Will Rifkin on w.rifkin@uq.edu.au


In mid 2007, a 3 year agreement was formalised with the then Lihir Gold Limited for SMI-CSRM to provide research, training and consulting services. During this time SMI-CSRM has delivered training to community relations personnel employed by the company, led the development and implementation of a cultural heritage management plan for Lihir Island, and coordinated baseline research for the Lihir Education Plan (a major, multi-year initiative that forms a kry part of the revised Intergrated Benefits Package between Newcrest, the government of PNG and the people of Lihir Island. 

The original agreement has now been extended for another 2 years. SMI-CSRM personnel will continue to train community relations personnel and will design a social impact monitoring framework for the operation. The framework not only identifies major social impacts on the community but also provides a number of indicators that will assist the company's  social responsibility reporting and monitoring. The agreement will continue to provide opportunities for publishing some of the findings out of SMI-CSRM's research activities in Lihir.

CSRM's close involvement with Newcrest in PNG provides a unique window on the challenges that communities and companies face in managing th impacts of rapid, large-scale, industrial development and in giving practical effect to the broad goal of sustainable development. 

If you would like more information about the Rio Tinto Partnership, please contact Dr Deanna Kemp on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">d.kemp@smi.uq.edu.au

ECC platform

The ECC Platform functions as a clearing house and a platform for exchange on environment, conflict, and cooperation (ECC). It aims to foster sustainable peace by creating networks among stakeholders from the development, environment, foreign and security communities worldwide.

Visit the ECC Platform website

Minerals Futures CSIRO Cluster Collaboration

The Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining is leading a 3-year collaborative partnership on the future sustainability of the Australian minerals industry. The Mineral Futures Cluster Collaboration is a partnership between researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, Curtin University of Technology, Central Queensland University, Monash University, the Australian National University and CSIRO. The partnership is funded by a $3.17 million contribution from the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund with in-kind contributions from cluster partners bringing the total investment in the research to $8.63 million (net of GST) over three years. 

The research partnership provides a social and economic research capability to the CSIRO Minerals Down Under Flagship. The CSIRO Minerals Down Under Flagship consists of innovation investment to address the serious challenges that face the Australian minerals industry: declining ore grades and shifting local, regional and international operating environments. The Minerals Futures research cluster is complementing the technological research undertaken through the flagship by providing foresight into the long-term strategic challenges, future scenarios, social, economic and regional contexts in which the technology will be situated and will assist the flagship to reach its goal of transforming the Australian minerals Landscape.

CSRM leads a major research project on the social, socio-environmental and economic impacts of Minerals Down Under technology and is developing methodologies and practical tools for technology assessment. A particular focus will be on the impacts of remote operations and automation technology on indigenous employment in the minerals industry. 

If you would like more information about the CSIRO cluster collaboration, please contact Dr Daniel Franks on d.franks@uq.edu.au