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The IMRE Journal Volume 7 (1) 2013

2013. TU Bergakademie Freiberg

Participatory Rural Appraisal as a Method for Community Engagement toward

Sustainability in Indonesian Mining Sector

Rezki Syahrir, Ondos, N.

Indonesian Institute for Sustainable
Rezki Syahrir

Johannesburg Plan of Implementation identified three priority areas to
ensure sustainability in mining, one of which is enhance the
participation of stakeholders. This paper aims to assess the effectiveness
of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) as community engagement
method in public consultation of the Environmental Impact Assessment
by comparing with the conventional method performance.
Participation rate was higher in the PRA. Moreover, more than 60% and
9% of the PRA attendee were community and indigenous leaders, and
women respectively, while in the conventional method, village
headman, officials, and councils dominated the event by more than
50%, but no women represent the group. The PRA succeed to obviously
identify that each villages has its own particular preferences which
remain unclear in the conventional method. Thus, the method was
effective to increase participation of indigenous communities and
women, as well as the quality of engagement, which essential to
sustainability in mining sector.
Participatory Rural Appraisal, Community Engagement, Participation
Rate, Indigenous Communities and Women, Sustainability in Mining
Sustainable Mining: Concept and Measures
How to apply sustainability concept in mining as the project will
eventually be closed due to its non-renewable resources? How to
implement sustainability to an activity that its very nature against the
sustainable development characteristic as mining operations
characterized by removing without replacing, having major impacts on
the local environment, and on the communities around the mines
themselves? (the guardian, 2012). These two basic problems are mostly
discussed in sustainability discussions in mining sector.

Online Publication Date:

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The application of sustainable development to the mining industry does

not mean to make one mine after another, but to see that sector as a
whole contributes to human welfare beings and well-being today
without reducing the potential for future generations to do the same
(MMSD, 2002). Thus, the sustainability focuses on the efforts to
maximize the benefits of mining projects while in the same time

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Participatory Rural Appraisal as a Method

to improve the environmental and social sustainability,

by emphasizing the optimization of positive impacts
with the concern to the integration of economic, social
and environmental pillars (the triple bottom line in
sustainable development).

Rezki Syahrir, Ondos, N. Saragih.

legitimate issues may not be heard, leading to conflict

and unsustainability (FAO, n.d).

In Indonesia, the public consultation in EIAs process is

generally facilitated by the government who purposely
invite participants. Formally took place in government
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation identified three office, the event tends to be one-way communication
priority areas to ensure sustainability in mining sector, where mining company describes its project plan and
one of which is enhance the participation of participants provide feedbacks and comments.
stakeholders, including local and indigenous However, IISM considered this conventional method
communities and women. The quality of the failed to engage the public more deeply. The method,
community engagement as well is important as it will according to experiences, does not recognize informal
influence future relationship of mining and societies. organizations, such as indigenous institutions and
Since minerals industry concerns that its future is women group, which are vital in rural communities.
largely determined by their achievement on sustainable Therefore, IISM encouraged a different approach, the
development, mining operation therefore should meet PRA, to the EIA public consultation of bauxite mining
social expectations and share the responsibilities with project in Landak Regency, West Kalimantan Province,
government and stakeholders. Most importantly, the Indonesia.
process should be performed from the early stages to
The PRA is a community engagement method based on
lead company gain social license to operate.
empowerment principle. It is an approach of learning
This paper aims to assess the effectiveness of rural life and conditions from, with and by rural people,
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) as a method of which allows them to share, enrich, and analyze their
community engagement in public consultation during own knowledge of their own live, as well as to develop
the mining Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) collective plans and actions. It contains some features
process of mining. It is evaluated by comparing the which appropriate for rural communities consultation
participation and representativeness rates, as well namely iterative, innovative, interactive, informal, and
feedbacks of two different methods: the PRA and in the community.
which in this paper is called conventional method that
normally used in Indonesias minerals sector. The PRA The public consultation was serially conducted in six
was conducted in West Kalimantan Province in 2014, villages which expected to receive direct impact from
and the conventional method in South Sumatera the mine. Participants engaged in: (1) village
mappings; (2) agriculture, plantations, farms and
Province in 2012.
indigenous seasonal calendar and Venn Diagrams
Community Engagement and Sustainability
constructions; (3) livelihood and local values analysis
Community engagement is a process of involving related to the proposed project.
community in problem solving or decision making, and
Public Participation Rate,
uses their feedbacks to achieve beneficial solutions. It
Representativeness, and Quality
allows companies to demonstrate their social
responsibility and awareness against the environmental Public participation and representation rate are
impact problems. An effective community engagement essential in public consultation. A high public
may lead mining firms to improve their social participation and representation rate will ensure the
legitimacy, credibility and generate trust from reliability of data and information addressed in public
stakeholders which is critical to a sustainable resources consultation.
In the PRA, participants involved were 110 people
PRA, a Method of Community Engagement in
EIAs Public Consultation of Mining Project

from 6 villages of 5 districts. This number is

significantly higher than conventional method which
attended by 21 people from 6 villages of 3 districts.
Public consultation is a part of EIAs to reveal new The composition of the participants also obviously
information, improve understanding and enable better contrast where 70, or more than 60% of the PRA
choices to be made. Without a proper consultation,
attendee were community and indigenous leaders,
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Participatory Rural Appraisal as a Method

Rezki Syahrir, Ondos, N. Saragih

while in the conventional method, village headman, Furthermore, the comparison of concern level of main
officials, and councils dominated the event by 11 issues related to mining activities between PRA and
people, or more than 50% of the participants. The Conventional Method are presented in figure 2.
difference is largely due to the nature of the program,
where the PRA organized informally and in the
community, whereas the conventional method took
place formally in a government office.
4,76% 0,00%

Moreover, since public consultation emphasized the

importance of representation, therefore in the PRA all
groups, either formal institutions or informal groups,
had been involved in the process. As a result, 10
women participated while no one represent the group
in conventional method as they did not have any
formal institution recognized by the government.
Further details regarding the number as well as the
distribution and proportion of the public consultations
participants are shown in the Table I and Figure 1.
Table I. Number of Public Consultation Participants.
Number of Participants
Subdistrict Head and Officials
Village Headman, Officials, and Council
Community and Indigenous Leaders





Subdistrict Head and Officials

Village Headman, Officials, and Council
and Indigenous
1. Distribution
and Proportion
of Public Consultation

Participants. Source: IISM (2014, data processed)


Source: IISM (2014, data processed)

Participation and representation rates and distribution

will eventually define the resulting comments and
input. In the PRA, issues related to the bauxite mining
can be obviously identified: labor issues,
improvement of both physical and social
indigenous institutions, environmental impact
concerns and favorable compensation to landowners, Figure 2. Main Issues Related to the Mining Activities
Addressed in Public Consultations. Source: IISM (2014, data
and more specifically, each villages has its own processed).
particular preferences. This understanding will
significantly help the mining firm to effectively
Apart from the normative topic regarding employment
engage with the communities in the future.
opportunities for local people, the findings show that the
However, participants of the conventional method public consultations participants led their highest
were relatively homogeneous and dominated by the concern to different issues. In the PRA, the public
representatives of the formal institutions. As a result, argued that community and indigenous people
the main concern were to legal license and engagement is essential in future interaction to avoid a
administrative issues, while topics on infrastructure serious social problem, whereas in the conventional
and social problems less considered otherwise and method, the participants emphasized the importance of
specific intentions of villages remain unclear.
the firms legal license.
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Participatory Rural Appraisal as a Method

Rezki Syahrir, Ondos, N. Saragih

However, the real challenge of many operating mines mostly less associated with legal license. In fact, as
business/blog/responsible-mininga mine commence, social issue tends to emerging
live-discussion Retrieved January
more. An effective community engagement may lead
15, 2014.
the company to appropriately deal with the issue, and
as a result, to earn and maintain its social license.
Understanding this, the application of PRA in the
public consultation had helped the company to
identify a legitimate issue that was neglected in the
conventional method.
Lessons Learned
Even though there are no clear rules about how to
perform public consultation, it is important that the
process remains innovative and flexible. The use of
PRA illustrated that a serious community
engagement will result more reliable inputs to the
mining firm. Compared with the conventional
method, the PRA delivered understandable
identification of the environment characteristics,
local and indigenous community values and
aspirations to the project. The method was effective
representativeness rate of particularly indigenous
communities and women, as well as to address the
legitimate issues that may prevent the mining firm
from having conflict in the future. This may
eventually lead to the development of sustainability
in Indonesian mining sector.
IISM. (2014). Public Consultation Report of Bauxite
Mining EIA Project. Unpublished manuscript.
MMSD Project. (2012). Breaking New Ground.
International Institute for Environment and
Development and World Business Council for
Sustainable Development. UK.
blic participation Retrieved August 13, 2014 Retrieved August 13, 2014
u=230 Retrieved January 13, 2014.

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