A Review of the Impact of Mining Activity through a Community Capital Framework

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Community sustainability is particularly important for communities near mining operations as they can experience significant boom and downturn periods. The sustainability of a community is determined by its environmental, human, social, cultural, public structural, and commercial resources, its community capital. Research has been conducted on each of the elements of community capital; however, little is known regarding the overall impact of mining operations on community capital. Therefore, a review of peer-reviewed literature was conducted to gain insight into existing knowledge on each of the impact of mining operations on community capital. The quality of the chosen papers was appraised using a standardised critical assessment tool. Due to the varied methodology of the papers, the findings were thematically analysed. The results of this review identified that mining activities have negative impacts on the community through environmental degradation and consequent health problems, disruption to social networks, increased burden on public infrastructure, and economic dependence on a sometimes volatile mining industry. Minimising these impacts can increase the sustainability of mining communities after mining operations have reduced or ceased. Additionally, minimising these impacts can enhance community functioning while mining operation levels are at their peak.