The most effective and sustainable community development activities reflect some basic principles:
- Adopt a strategic approach: Development activities at the operational level are linked to long-term strategic objectives for the company and are also aligned with existing and future community and/or regional and national development plans.
- Ensure consultation and participation: Local communities are actively involved in all stages of project conception, design, and implementation, including closure and post-closure.
- Work in partnership: Private, governmental, NGO, and community organizations bringing different skills and resources – but shared interests and objectives – can achieve more through working together than individually. Formal or informal partnerships can also reduce costs, avoid duplication of existing initiatives, and reduce community dependency on the mining operation.
- Strengthen capacity: Programs that emphasize strengthening of local community, NGO, and government capacity are more sustainable in the long-term than the supply of cash, materials, or infrastructure without a properly designed forward-looking participatory framework. While infrastructure is often essential for the development of remote communities, it will only be sustained if there is an adequate maintenance program supported by a well designed participatory process including local communities and governments.