For natural resource and energy assets, a strong 'socio-political license' is critical to success: without the support of governments, local communities and a host of other stakeholders, assets can become mired in costly delays and damaging controversies. Many firms recognise the importance of these issues, yet find it difficult to assess and manage them systematically.

To help tackle this challenge Critical Resource has developed LicenseSecure, a rigorous process underpinned by deep team expertise in these issues and a database of over 200 projects providing insights on how best to secure the 'socio-political license'. At the core of LicenseSecure is a unique rating system which benchmarks the level of political, stakeholder and sustainability risk facing individual resource assets. It provides a simple means to communicate asset risk internally and externally.   We support our clients in two broad areas:
  • Understand the risks before they arise: due diligence and assurance - this flexible service provides rigorous, objective assessments on stakeholder and political risk for resource assets more»
    We support our clients to:
    • Screen and assess potential acquisitions and new ventures
    • Prepare project teams for new country entry
    • Conduct ‘health-checks’ at existing assets or projects (e.g., prior to key investment decisions)
    • Gain assurance that internal policies, external standards, or industry best-practices are being complied with
    • Develop national and regional scenarios to prepare for potential shifts in the external context
    Examples of recent client assignments:
    • Energy client, MENA – rapid country entry assessment. Our client was considering acquiring two licenses, and required a review of key political, social and sustainability issues prior to management sign off. Our research process involved benchmarking against other licenses in the country and region using our database, and interviewing influential stakeholders, whilst maintaining client anonymity.
    • Mining client, Latin America – ‘healthcheck’ of license to operate, preparing project team for new country entry. Our client had purchased its first Latin American asset, and needed to get quickly up to speed with the complex challenges facing miners in the country - and its assets specifically. CR delivered an independent perspective of the key risks, and assisted in the design of an overarching strategy for sustainably developing the project.
    • Mining client, Africa – due diligence of potential acquisition. Our client was evaluating a bid for a major un-developed mineral asset. Maintaining client anonymity, we conducted in-country interviews with a set of senior sources, analysed the range of specific risks facing the project, and benchmarked the asset against other extractive projects in the country.
    • Energy client, Asia Pacific – independent risk review, mitigation strategy design. Our client felt its existing understanding of the risks facing its asset was inadequate for the scale of investment under consideration. Reporting directly to the ExCo, CR provided a rapid review of the key political, sustainability and stakeholder risks facing the assets, developed a strategic management plan, and designed a tailored monitoring framework to allow the project team to track progress against the overarching strategy.
  • Manage the risks when they do: practical support - we support clients in a variety of ways to effectively and responsibly manage stakeholder and political risks facing their assets more»
    Areas of support include:
    • Strategies and action plans
      • - Overall strategies for securing the 'license-to-operate'
      • - Action plans for tackling key challenges, e.g. government & community relations; human rights risks; politics of water
      • - Benchmarking against international best practice
    • Support for stakeholder engagement
      • - Stakeholder analysis
      • - Negotiation support
      • - Engagement support
      • - Developing engagement materials
      • - Needs assessments
    • Tracking progress and building internal alignment
      • - Workshops for building internal alignment
      • - Tracking frameworks to monitor external and internal developments
      • - Team co-ordination and project management
    • Policy and systems development
      • - Policies on key topics, e.g. communities, anti-corruption, human rights
      • - Support for compliance with external standards
      • - Design of internal processes to monitor risks or evaluate new investments
    • Design of initiatives to build support
      • - National development initiatives
      • - Local community programs
      • - Partnerships with donors or NGOs
      • - Independent advisory panels
      • - Dialogue tables and processes to consult and build consent
    Examples of recent client assignments include:
    • Energy client, global – developing a best-practice approach to corporate responsibility issues. Recently listed and working in increasingly challenging jurisdictions, our client required a robust suite of policies, systems and initiatives to manage the new socio-political and reputational risks it faced. Drawing on our team’s extensive experience in leading similar exercises for major extractive companies, CR worked closely with senior management to develop key principles, policies and processes to responsibly and sustainably address the challenges it faced.
    • Mining client, Africa - global review of mining activity near protected areas. Our client was keen to have a net-positive impact on a nearby environmentally protected area, and was eager to follow international best practice in this regard. Drawing on our international experience, CR helped our client to learn from the most effective initiatives undertaken by other resource companies from around the world.
    • Mining client, Latin America –building internal alignment on tackling political and stakeholder challenges. Following an earlier healthcheck of the project’s socio-political license, CR facilitated an in-country workshop with the senior project team to discuss our findings, and to formalise an agreed action plan for managing the full of range of risks facing the project in a structured, proactive and responsible way.
Key features of our process:
  • Tailored analysis, not generic country info: Our sole focus is political, stakeholder and sustainability risks facing resource projects. We deliver what our clients need – tailored analysis and support on the challenges facing particular assets of interest, not another country risk report.
  • Sector expertise: Our assignment teams combine social, political and regional experts with deep resource industry expertise. Senior advisors include former executives in major resource firms with decades of experience managing these issues responsibly first hand.
  • Unrivalled knowledge base: Our database of over 200 resource projects allows us to pinpoint the most successful and responsible approaches adopted elsewhere, and to benchmark assets against others based on the level of stakeholder and political risk.
  • Highest standards: Our LicenseSecure assessment model incorporates key elements of all leading global sustainability standards (IFC Performance Standards, EITI, Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights, ICMM Principles, etc), providing assurance on their implementation, as well as on internal policies and standards.
Please email us at if you are a resource company or investor interested to find out more about LicenseSecure. Critical Resource will assist clients to manage issues with integrity. Some services are outside the scope of Critical Resource's work. Critical Resource is not a PR or lobbying firm. While able to provide fact-based content for potential external use, Critical Resource does not undertake media relations itself or represent clients externally. Client confidentiality is a core principle for Critical Resource.