Mining has been entangled with the development of communities in all continents since the beginning of large-scale resource extraction. It has brought great wealth and prosperity, as well as great misery and environmental destruction. Today, there is a greater awareness of the urgent need for engineers to meet the challenge of extracting declining mineral resources more efficiently, with positive and equitable social impact and minimal environmental impact.
Many engineering disciplines (from software to civil engineering) play a role in the life of a mine, from its inception and planning to its operation and final closure. The companies that employ these engineers are expected to uphold human rights, address community needs, and be socially responsible. While many believe it is possible for mines to make a profit and achieve these goals simultaneously, others believe that these are contradictory aims. This book narrates the social experience of mining in two very different settings (Papua New Guinea and Western Australia) to illustrate how political, economic, and cultural contexts can complicate the simple idea of "community engagement."
Table of Contents
Mining in History
The Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea
Mining and Society in Western Australia
Acting on Knowledge
About the Author(s)Rita Armstrong
, University of Western Australia
Rita Armstrong is an anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney, based on two year's fieldwork in a longhouse community in Central Borneo. With an undergraduate major in History, she combines historical research with anthropological methodologies and interests to analyze a variety of issues: Indigenous perceptions of social change, political economy of the interaction between shifting cultivators and the state, subjective understanding of "development" and how all these influence and shape local identity. She has worked with Caroline Baillie, an engineer and social activist, for a number of years in developing interdisciplinary teaching material for first-year engineers at the University of Western Australia, and, most recently, on research projects funded by the International Mining for Development Centre. She continues to teach in Anthropology and Engineering and this experience has underlined the importance of developing collaborative research projects across these disciplines to better understand how we can resolve the increasing inequity in peoples' capacity to deal with issues such as climate change, resource extraction, and diminishing water supply.Caroline Baillie
, University of Western Australia
Caroline Baillie is Chair of Engineering Education for the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. Before coming to Perth, Caroline was Chair of Engineering Education Research and Development at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, and she also held posts at Imperial College and the University of Sydney. Caroline is particularly interested in ways in which science and engineering can help to co-create solutions for the environment as well as social problems. She founded the global Engineering and Social Justice
network in 2004 and applies this lens to her own technical work on low cost natural fiber composites for developing countries. Her not-for-profit organization Waste for Life
works to create poverty-reducing solutions to environmental issues. Caroline is Editor of this series "Engineers, Technology and Society."Wendy Cumming-Potvin
, Murdoch University, Australia
Dr. Wendy Cumming-Potvin is a fulltime academic at Murdoch University's School of Education in Western Australia. Born and raised in Canada, Wendy has lived, worked, and studied in Australian mining communities. Her expertise lies in qualitative research promoting social justice in literacies, communities of practice, and engineering. As a project leader in a Cooperative Research Centre project, Wendy is examining the use of technology for promoting socially inclusive communities. She was recently awarded a Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching at MU.9.