Partnerships between business and civil society have become more important for business, and particularly for the mining industry as it strives to create value for shareholders while sharing that value with communities. Even the most remote communities are sharply aware of their rights, as well as the responsibilities
of the companies that develop their natural resources. They are also gaining awareness of the obligations of the governments that administer the taxes and royalties these companies pay.
We reject the exploitative practices that the mining industry adopted for much of the past century. The industry is leaving behind the clubby arrangements between companies and governments that too often bypassed communities and ensured that the spoils of investment benefited a connected few.
We see a deeper and more active pool of organisations and civil society groups that can engage with local communities, companies and governments. These are the groups that have filled the institutional and governance void that characterised so many jurisdictions in the past.
For example, before soil was turned on AngloGold Ashanti and Randgold Resources’ US$2bn Kibali project in the volatile northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the community, the Catholic Church and a number of NGOs co-operated to determine the best modes of investment in housing and social development projects.
Without such an inclusive approach and efforts to achieve consensus among local communities, companies are bound to face resistance in the long term that will render projects unworkable. The industry is littered with examples of projects rendered unviable because of community opposition. We cannot rely on old modes of doing business in emerging markets.
Greater co-operation with civil society is helping communities organise as they become more aware of legislation, industry best practice and the promises for which governments and investors alike must be held accountable.
There is also a link between communities and the growing number of socially responsible investors who — with more than $4trillion in funds — are a powerful lobby for change.
These trends will only gain momentum, and we should welcome them if we have a true interest in the economic and environmental sustainability of emerging markets — and the upliftment of their people.
Marrying this growing social awareness and corporate responsibility to develop natural resources for the shared benefit of all stakeholders will be the job for us all in this century.
If executed properly, the responsible extraction of the natural patrimony of these emerging markets will be one of the more potent catalysts for change and the upliftment of the so-called "bottom billions" — the 4.5bn people living in poverty in developing countries.
This is the brave new world we are entering as we increase the intensity of our engagement. It is one that places multinationals and governments under enormous scrutiny. It is also one that demands transparency and probity to meet the expectations of this connected and empowered group of stakeholders.
There is no longer a separate set of rules for the developed and developing worlds. Companies will be held to a higher standard in how they do business, with no shield from the disparity in legal systems and frameworks.
The truth is that if we cannot successfully apply our values in an environment, we had better work to change that environment — or exit it altogether.
It’s worth quoting Lewis Carroll’s words, penned for the Queen of Hearts, which may as well be a mantra for developing markets: "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that."
• This is an edited version of a paper presented at the Oxford Analytica Conference in the UK. Pityana is chairman of AngloGold Ashanti