Forging the Future: Insights from the Inaugural Mining Social License Summit

May 17, 2024
Todd Chapman, Tracy Bame, David Clarry and Adam Hawkins laugh with eachother

Todd Chapman, Tracy Bame, David Clarry and Adam Hawkins laugh with eachother while taking part in the Mining Social License Summit in Tucson, AZ.

On April 25, 2024, the University of Arizona School of Mining & Mineral Resources launched its inaugural Mining Social License Summit. 

Intended to share knowledge about the latest strategies for building and maintaining community trust in the mining industry, the Summit was sponsored by School of Mining & Mineral Resources industry partners Freeport-McMoRan and the Lundin Group.  

The first-of-its-kind forum shared best practices, and the latest thinking and technologies for building, maintaining, and rebuilding social license to operate for mining.  

“I am glad you are all here for this critical conversation,” said Misael Cabrera, director of the School of Mining & Mineral Resources, during his opening remarks. “Critical because our planet urgently needs abundant, economic minerals but most people do not realize it. Minerals to house and sustain a growing global population, minerals for technology and defense, minerals for green energy and green transportation. It is a critical conversation because in many geographies around the world, we have willing investors, strong environmental protections, and responsible mining companies, but we lack the social license to operate." 

Cabrera invited attendees to contemplate a future: 

  • when mining companies and the geographies they operate in continuously improve their environmental stewardship, community outreach, and tribal engagement.      

  • when there is broad consensus that mining is not just necessary, but essential for human civilization.   

  • where there is agreement that mining, when done responsibly, is not the enemy of the environment but a catalyst to save it.  

  • when geographies and companies that mine responsibly are embraced as the mineral suppliers of choice.  

  • where everyday people understand that many of the best things in life are brought to us by minerals and mining.   

The Summit was packed with valuable content, including presentations from more than 20 thought leaders from across the industry, tours of the UArizona San Xavier Mining Laboratory & Mission Mine and the Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum, and an informative VoconiQ workshop.