Planning for the Impacts of Megaprojects [chapter]

Keith Storey, Lawrence C. Hamilton
2003 Social and Environmental Impacts in the North: Methods in Evaluation of Socio-Economic and Environmental Consequences of Mining and Energy Production in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic  
Recent large-scale oil and mining developments in North America have been planned to achieve positive social impacts on rural communities. We review some general issues of social-impacts planning through the resource-development cycle. Such planning is illustrated by two recent examples of successful megaprojects -Red Dog Mine in Alaska, and Hibernia oilfield off Newfoundland. 282 PLANNING FOR THE IMPACTS OF MEGAPROJECTS taken social impacts into account. In the best cases, northern residents
more » ... ve been partners in planning the development, and social scientists were consulted for their insights. Although generally well-intentioned, social-impact planning has not achieved perfect success. Social responses to the rapid, multifaceted changes that occur when a megaproject joins a landscape of villages prove tricky to predict. Cultures interact, and individuals adapt, in varied and dynamic ways, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The complications encounteredunplanned outcomes amidst a planned development process -provide practical clues for making the next project better. These recent experiences hold greater interest today, and have more to teach us, than the social disasters of earlier unplanned development. In this paper we begin with some general observations about planning and the resource-development cycle, briefly illustrated with North American examples. Next, we describe two megaprojects developed in the 1990s -the Red Dog zinc mine in Alaska and the Hibernia oilfield off Newfoundland. Each faced unique challenges, and both are notable for the extent and success of their social-impacts planning. Unexpected complexities nevertheless emerged as development unfolded. PLANNING AND THE RESOURCE-DEVELOPMENT CYCLE Resource development involves five general phases: exploration/discovery, regulatory approval, development, operations and closure. The process of determining the potential and actual outcomes for each of these varies considerably from one site to the next. As a result, we know far less than we should about how to promote sustainable development in the North. This section reviews some of the issues that arise in each phase.
doi:10.1007/978-94-007-1054-2_21 fatcat:tun67c2apnhthiewmzfp6zgjdm