SCHOOLS and clinics. Soccer fields and bull rings. Even plump guinea pigs — to eat. From South America to Africa, mining companies are throwing all that and more at communities to quieten growing opposition to controversial projects."There’s something like $25bn worth of projects tied up or stopped," says Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani. "We have to get all those relationships right."While opposition to mines is nothing new, the issue is a growing concern for miners such as Anglo American, and executives are increasingly speaking out. Billions of dollars are at stake, they say.Their opponents say the companies despoil the environment and often fail to benefit local economies, or at least not as much as they claim.Push-back has been growing since the 1980s, when communities were rarely consulted about new mines. Now, local support is critical, according to Thras Moraitis, head of strategy at Xstrata before its 2013 takeover by Glencore."You can’t get a permit without involving full ...

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