There is widespread recognition that organisations operating in the extractive industry need to gain a ‘Social License to Operate’ (SLO) from local communities in order to mitigate conflict and exposure to risk. There is, however a need for organisations to go beyond obtaining SLO and provide long term social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities within which they operate, or in other words contribute to the principles of ‘Sustainable Development’. Many organisations seek to obtain SLO though Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) interventions, and thus there is a need to examine further the relationship between CSR and Sustainable Development. The research presented here aims to explore the relationships between the CSR actions taken by an organisation operating a gold mining project in Ghana, and the sustainable development of the communities in which they operate. The research suggests that by lacking a long-term strategy for CSR organizations are at risk from maintaining a SLO for the duration of their operations. It also argues that CSR programmes which deliver critical services and infrastructure to local communities, do not automatically contribute to long term sustainable development.