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Mining in isolated areas: Establishing bridges for the development of socio-environmental management

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An appreciation of the economic values of socio-ecological issues and the identification of business risks and opportunities by integrating these issues into company operations, is a major change of how we understand and conduct business. This change was marked by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (teeb) report, launched in 2010. Since then, an extensive toolbox has been developed on how to measure the economic value of ecosystem services, which extends to broader aspects, both ecological and cultural.

The mining industry has been exposed to high financial and reputational costs in locations that are environmentally or socially vulnerable and where socio-ecological problems have arisen. Taking care of local people and biodiversity,
and the value of it, should not only be a legal obligation, it must be understood as a vital component for medium and long-term industry success. Thus, mining has integrated many tools for environmental management; the emphasis being put into preventing and compensating immediate environmental impacts and restoration practices.

Notwithstanding the importance of these recommendable actions, a sustainable approach requires supplementary tools for community participation and an integrated system for the conservation of ecosystem services, which —so far— have rarely been sufficiently implemented.

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