If delegates wanted to play a drinking game at the 26th Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town this week, drinking a shot every time the phrase "social licence to operate" was uttered would have had them three sheets to the wind in no time.

The expression captures the idea that companies no longer just need regulatory permission to operate; they also require approval from stakeholders and society at large. It was a favourite cliché among speakers at the event...

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