European mining and the social license to operate

Pamela Lesser, Katharina Gugerell, Gregory Poelzer, Michael Hitch, Michael Tost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The notion of the Social License to Operate (SLO) has become an established part of the lexicon of the development discourse surrounding natural resource development in North and South America and Australia. In Europe, however, the idea of the SLO in relation to mine and mineral development is still in early development and acceptance. This may be due to the very different worldview that exists in Europe as opposed to the other jurisdictions. The European ‘condition’ can be characterised by a greater degree of trust in governance bodies and the role they play in prioritizing the best interests of the citizens they serve. The ‘Scalar SLO Model’ is inspired by Thompson and Boutilier's original conception and was developed as a deliverable of the H2020 MIREU project to describe the SLO in Europe; however, its logic can be applied to any other jurisdiction globally. What distinguishes the Scalar SLO Model from other contributions to the literature is two-fold. First, the division between the Community and Societal drivers of the SLO reinforces the notion that the nature of the SLO within the Community dimension can manifest itself differently than within the broader Societal dimension where values may not be the same. The second distinguishing contribution introduces the attributes of loss of the SLO as represented by conflictual relationships in both dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number787
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2020


  • European Mining
  • Scalar Model
  • SLO
  • Social License to Operate

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