The Iondrive CSR team has been highly successful in building strong trust with local Korean communities enabling exploration work to be completed in several different project areas.
Regulatory approval is needed for ground disturbing activity, including exploration drilling or trenching, which is typically done after the initial reconnaissance exploration. Prior to submission to the local county, the landowner’s approval is needed and is incorporated into the submission. But even prior to this, the CSR team engages with local people to communicate the nature of Iondrive’s early-stage exploration.
Typical community approach and sensitivities
Most of Iondrive’s projects are in rural areas which have a small community in the local area. Contact with the village leader, who is a key person in the local community, is essential to find landowner information and to build trust and good communication channels with the local community. An open relationship is established with the village leader and an introduction of the Iondrive business is presented. Other villagers are consulted and information about the village and surrounds is obtained. The village leader is usually aware of relevant information pertaining to the village and knows the identities of the landowners. The landowners are initially contacted through the village leader to ensure a more familiar setting for the negotiation. Iondrive’s proposed exploration work is discussed, and trust is built. They understand the value of the land can be increased by exploration and that any longer-term mine development is beneficial to the local economy. Iondrive listens to the villager’s views and takes note of their concerns and in this way goodwill with the landowner is established.
Sometimes land is owned by multiple people in the one family and in this case a larger family meeting is held to gain consent from the whole group (Photos 1-3).
In addition, visits to the drill site are made with the landowner to listen to any concerns (Photos 4-6).
Dealing with concerns
Iondrive presents information which includes evidence of the environmentally responsible manner that drilling and related activities is conducted. Through this business explanation and examples of past project work, trust is gained with the villagers and landowners. This effort reduces short-term concern and confirms the company’s integrity. The life cycle of drilling from initial investigation to restoration of drill sites is presented, emphasising that the land is kept clean, drill fluids and waste are managed well and all procedures are approved through the governments regulatory system. Long-term concerns are alleviated by explaining that the environmental regulations are now much stronger than were applicable to historical mines. An effort is made to build trust and form a good relationship over time with Iondrive staff always listening carefully and communicating with respect.
Follow up engagement
During the drilling stage, a good relationship is shared with all stakeholders. Any issues from people in the local town are managed through good communication and education about the nature of our work. The drill site is operated professionally and any safety or environmental risks are managed in a proactive manner. Post drilling, the relationship is maintained until the point (if or when) Iondrive decide to direct work elsewhere. If the drilling is successful or the exploration target is broadened, more community relationships will be required. Any development requires the consent of the majority of the villagers and, in preparation for this possibility, a good relationship with all local people is maintained. This includes looking carefully to see if there are any signs that the villagers are feeling uncomfortable with our exploration activity. In this case, it is advantageous to expand the good relationship through the village leader and the landowner who is already positive about the project. Integrity is shown by greeting any residents first, and if someone is curious about the Iondrive business, we make sure to explain it clearly and offer a visit to the drilling site while it is in operation. The well-managed drill site can always accommodate visitors at any time.