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Social licence to operate in the applied geo- and engineering projects

The social license to operate of projects in applied geosciences and engineering has been an issue since the days of Georg Agricola. Its importance for the reputation of companies has increased in recent years. This is due to the public's increased environmental awareness, the desire for more transparency regarding commodity supply chains (circular economy), and especially the perception of catastrophic events such as dam breaches at tailings ponds.

The institutionalized and private public's demand for more information introduces new challenges for operators. Most conflicts between stakeholders and companies occur during periods of change in projects.

However, from the operational point of view, only securing and strengthening the social licence to operate leads to the creation of a positive atmosphere. For this purpose, modern geomonitoring concepts are necessary. A modern geomonitoring integrates a variety of geospatial and engineering measurement techniques and sensors, from space, air, ground and subsurface. This fusion creates a transparent, spatial and temporal understanding of processes that must be communicated to stakeholders.

Geomonitoring therefore represents an important tool and supports open and transparent communication and transfer. Stakeholders see the integration of geomonitoring, risk management and communication into operational practice as evidence that the company is pursuing sustainable development. In this way, the basis for social acceptance of current but also future projects in applied geosciences and engineering is created.


Tobias Rudolph1, Jörg Benndorf2, Peter Goerke-Mallet1
1Forschungszentrum Nachbergbau (FZN), Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola (THGA), Germany; 2Institut für Markscheidewesen und Geodäsie der TU Bergakademie Freiberg
GeoKarlsruhe 2021