An Agent-Based Approach to Evaluating the Effect of Dynamic Age Changes on Community Acceptance of Mining Projects


Quantifying local community's acceptance of mining projects and how that changes over time has remained one of the challenging tasks in evaluating socio-political risks associated with mining investments. The local community is one of the key stakeholders that determine the success and sustainability of mining projects. Evaluating the local community's level of acceptance, which depends on community demographics and the nature of the mine, over the project life cycle, is intricate. Some studies have been conducted to understand the correlation between mine characteristics and community demographics, on one hand, and the community's preferences for development using discrete choice theory. Nevertheless, not much has been done to model dynamic local community acceptance over the project life cycle, although modeling may provide insights beyond static surveys. As part of an ongoing effort towards this goal, this paper presents a model of dynamic local community acceptance of mining project as a function of changes in population age, and associated attributes, using agent-based modeling (ABM). The model, built in Matlab, describes the people in the community as independent agents. The agents' environment is defined by a set of common variables that describe the mine development and general demographics (e.g., fertility rates). The agents' utility function is derived from the discrete choice model from Ivanova and Rolfe (2011), which is used to derive an odds ratio. Five year simulations are carried out using data from Ivanova and Rolfe (2011). The results show a marginal decrease in the percentage of the population supporting the project over time. This paper discusses the possible causes of this change in support trend over time. Future research would incorporate other dynamic demographic and environmental variables to facilitate dynamic simulation. This would assist investors and stakeholders to understand drivers of community acceptance early in project planning and design.

Meeting Name

37th International Symposium on Application of Computers and Operations Research in the Mineral Industry, APCOM2015 (2015: May 23-27, Fairbanks, AK)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Autonomous agents; Computational methods; Decision theory; Function evaluation; Life cycle; MATLAB; Mines; Operations research; Population statistics; Sustainable development; Agent-based approach; Discrete choice models; Discrete choice theories; Environmental variables; Independent agents; Modeling of dynamics; Project life cycle; Utility functions; Mineral industry

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Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2015 Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2015

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