Gaining access to land with mineral and hydrocarbon resources can
present a significant challenge. Experiences from Latin America show
that direct land expropriation has been abandoned in favour of social
licence, meaning securing community or individual agreement about the
use of land for extractive activities. This Brief describes the key
factors that have enabled this transformation, and provides examples to
illustrate the main social licence strategies in use in Latin America.
Finally, the Brief identifies key lessons from policy and practice that
will be useful for other regions facing similar challenges.
•Because land expropriation is no longer seen as a viable option,
government-driven processes to establish collective or individual land
rights in rural areas are a crucial first step for ultimately securing
social licence. From there, Latin American shows a variety of social
licence strategies that are working, reducing conflict and bringing
long-term stability to extractive projects.
•When states and responsible corporations develop compensatory
mechanisms to address land degradation and social and environmental
impacts, reliable, long-term access to resources is more likely.
•While land remediation is often enforced in extractive industry
regulations, giving back land freely to its former owners or local
communities is a socially responsible corporate practice that can help
to improve the image of a company, and the extractive industry sector in
Damonte, G. ELLA Policy Brief: From Expropriation to Social Licence: Accessing Land for Extractive Industries. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 6 pp.