Community development is the process of increasing the strength and effectiveness of communities, improving people's quality of life, and enabling people to participate in decision making to achieve greater long-term control over their lives. Sustainable community development programs are those that contribute to the long-term strengthening of community viability.
Often, the most sustainable beneficial legacies that community development programs around a mining operation may leave are in the skills and capacities that training, employment, and education programs for local people provide. The essential element of a sustainable community development program is that it can survive without input from a mining company, especially after the mining project is finished. Thus, community sustainability can be supported by mining practices that help convert one local asset, nonrenewable natural resource capital, into another local asset, sustainable human and social capital.