7. Key considerations for government
An effective approach to environmental management would include comprehensive policies, which allow for stringent environmental assessments to be conducted - no matter how obvious or precautionary - and incorporated into decision making processes.
What is important to note is that mechanisms for environmental management should not only cover the operation itself, but also water resources, transport of fuels and materials, handling of facilities, traffic and railway routes and other activities linked to the operation. To this end, governments may need to recognise and define sensitive sites and vulnerable environmental areas within their territory, which would potentially be off limits for extractives sector operations.
Notably, the implementation of extractives projects could be a sensitive issue among local and indigenous communities. Not only may such projects affect people’s habitat and livelihoods, but also their health and wellbeing. Extractives projects must protect the basic rights of individuals potentially affected by the operations. It is, therefore, important to pay due regard to the social aspects of such assessments and remain conscious of the potential conflicts that could arise between communities, extractives industries and governments.