When it comes to mining or massive infrastructure operations and the concern for project development, feasibility revisions heavily influence the choices that are made. Such revisions consider an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) which are driven by international best practice and host country legislation. Feasibility studies need to study environmental and social issues, including health, safety, labour and security
The phases included in project development are Concept/Scoping, Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Study. For the environmental and social assessment the phases comprise Screening, Scoping, Baseline Studies, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Environmental and Social Management Planning stages.
In the attempt to complete the assessment, the ESIA’s operation description needs to match the feasibility study. However with this said, the final project description determines the completion of the impact assessment and management planning. The decisions that are made and how they are made is all dependant on the groups involved. Regulations and legislations pertaining to a certain country commonly differ and adding to this is the complexity of the overall participants; developers differ according to their corporate requirements and investors differ according to their risk position. The decisions and choices made by each party stand the chance to influence the other parties’ decision points.
Based on SRK’s extensive ESIA experience and their worthy understanding of the development process, SRK has applied the following principles when undertaking ESIAs and when reviewing ESIAs prepared by other consultants:
- Understanding the decision-making processes to determine the requirements of each decision maker and the key milestones in their respective processes
- Early integration of project development engineering teams with the environmental and social specialists (whether in-house or consultants)
- Regular interaction and communication between the engineering and environmental/social teams at all stages of the project development to ensure optimal project design, prevent environmental damage and obtain the social licence needed from stakeholders