Knowledge network on mining encounters and indigenous sustainable livelihoods: cross-perspectives from the Circumpolar North and Melanesia/Australia (2017-2023)


Coordination scientifique : Thierry Rodon (Université de Laval)
Responsable scientifique pour le Centre Norbert Elias : Christine Demmer, anthropologue

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Countries: New Caledonia, Sweden, Canada, Ausralia, Greenland (Denmark)
Website: http://www.mineral.ulaval.ca


Mineral exploration and extraction is being undertaken on a global scale by multinational corporations that operate in different countries. Indigenous peoples have also been developing a global network with the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations. When it comes to specific mining projects, however, it is usually local or regional indigenous representatives who are responsible for negotiating with globalised mining corporations, who participate in environmental impact assessments, and who manage the positive and negative consequences of development.

Even if they are set in different legal context, indigenous communities engaging with mining companies tend to experience very similar consequences on their livelihoods. These mining developments create jobs and in some cases help create businesses, thus generating economic wealth, but this new wealth is often connected with the loss of authority over traditional territories and impacts on livelihoods.

  • The main objective of this research program is to create a network for information exchange and comparative research among multiple countries on the consequences of mining encounters on indigenous sustainable livelihoods. The knowledge network has the following specific objectives: Create a knowledge network on the consequences of mineral exploration and extraction on indigenous sustainable livelihoods. The network will encompass the study of environmental impact assessment processes, social acceptability, risk/uncertainty, and best practices in the Circumpolar North (Northern Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland) and the South (New Caledonia and Australia).
  • Enable Indigenous governments and organizations, amongst themselves and with researchers, to share information about indigenous sustainable livelihoods in the context of mining developments, communication and negotiation strategies and Strategic and Environmental Impact Assessment (SIA/EIA) processes.
  • Serve as a forum where researchers will share their findings (about mining activities, Environmental Impact Assessment processes and mining impacts on sustainable livelihood) with national, regional and local governments and with Indigenous organizations.
  • Support ongoing and future research projects on Indigenous communities and their encounters with mining projects and the effects on indigenous sustainable livelihoods and politics.
  • Develop comparative analysis of the impacts of the different types of mines and different systems for recognition of Indigenous rights and for Indigenous self-government in relation to resource development.
  • Enhance the capacity of regional and local governments and Indigenous communities and organizations during mineral exploration, environmental impact assessment, mining and mine reclamation. -Contribute to the training of graduate students by linking them to indigenous communities and to the training of local indigenous researchers by hiring them to work on research projects alongside the students.

The partners of the project are many, we count indigenous partners in Nunavik, Nunavut, Nunatsiavut and in Eeyou Itchee as well as in Scandinavia, Australia and New-Caledonia. They represent indigenous organizations, as well as governments and research institutes. The structure of the Network will allow the partners to fully participate in the development of research priorities and activities. They will continually be able to influence and comment on the Network’s orientations and priorities and share their knowledge and experience with researchers in order to ensure that the research meets their needs. Their voices will be integrated in the research design and activities.