Minerals get community friendly

THE importance of community relations in the mining industry has been recognised with the launch of a world-first postgraduate program at the University of Queensland.

Angie Tomlinson

The university, in partnership with the Minerals Council of Australia, has established a program aimed at improving the skills of community relations practitioners in the minerals industry.

The program, to begin next year, will offer courses in community engagement, community development, corporate social responsibility and cultural awareness for practitioners in the minerals industry.

"To meet the needs of the modern minerals industry, it is important to have qualified professionals across a breadth of disciplines - in economics, geology, metallurgy, engineering, environmental sciences and community relations," MCA chief executive Mitchell Hooke said.

"Just as the minerals industry has focused for the past decade on the need for attracting and retaining qualified environmental practitioners in the industry, the challenge for this decade is professionalising community relations practitioners to ensure the minerals sector is better able to meet its commitment to the effective implementation of sustainable development."

Although initially offered as a graduate certificate, the program may be expanded over time to include a graduate diploma and master's degree, subject to sufficient student enrolments.