Mining, institutions and public opinion: interactions between stakeholder-groups and the administrative system

LKAB Contact    LTU Contact Sverker Jagers, Simon Matti
Posted in Sustainable mining

For a mining company the development of a new mine consists of more than purely technical and economic considerations, but includes a rather large number of political, administrative and public aspects that has to be considered. Planning and permitting processes surrounding mineral development are inherently complex and includes the interaction with several different community stakeholder groups and with administrative and political institutions on several governmental levels. Depending on the interests and values of these community groups and on the interaction in-between them, the mining company and the institutional environment the outcome of the development process can vary considerably. Given the values at stake, knowledge of these interactions and of the influence of public opinion and separate stakeholder groups becomes crucial for companies developing a new mine.

The aim of this study is to investigate the attributes of public opinion and stakeholder influence on the mineral development process, factors impacting the formation of public opinion, and administrative capacity for incorporating public opinion into the development process. Through an international comparison the study also aim to discover common institutional features that affect public opinion impact on mineral development on a general level. 

Project overview

The study aim is summarized into the following four research questions:

  1. How does public opinion and stakeholder preferences (e.g. industry and organized interests) influence the establishment and development of a new mine?
  2. How can the formation and direction of public opinion be explained, and what factors are most influential on how public opinion is formed and expressed?
  3. In what way does the political/administrative culture and organization within the planning and permitting processes affect the level by which public opinion and stakeholder preferences are incorporated in and allowed to influence decision-making?
  4. In an international comparison, are there any common institutional features that can explain (a) varying levels of public- and stakeholder influence in the decision-making processes, and (b) the outputs and outcomes of these processes?

To fulfill the aim of the project, we will combine quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (e.g., interviews and literature studies) methodology and perform a comparative case study. To understand how public attitudes are formulated and how they interact with the administrative system both formal and informal institutional attributes will be studied.