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Coal mining and the resource community cycle: A longitudinal assessment of the social impacts of the Coppabella coal mine
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Stewart Lockie, John Rolfe, GA Ivanova, Maree Franettovich, V Petkova-Timmer, Vanessa Petkova, Galina Williams
Two social impact assessment (SIA) studies of Central Queensland's Coppabella coal mine were undertaken in 2002–2003 and 2006–2007. As ex post studies of actual change, these provide a reference point for predictive assessments of proposed resource extraction projects at other sites, while the longitudinal element added by the second study illustrates how impacts associated with one mine may vary over time due to changing economic and social conditions. It was found that the traditional coupling of local economic vitality and community development to the life cycle of resource projects—the resource community cycle—was mediated by labour recruitment and social infrastructure policies that reduced the emphasis on localised employment and investment strategies, and by the cumulative impacts of multiple mining projects within relative proximity to each other. The resource community cycle was accelerated and local communities forced to consider ways of attracting secondary investment and/or alternative industries early in the operational life of the Coppabella mine in order to secure significant economic benefits and to guard against the erosion of social capital and the ability to cope with future downturns in the mining sector.