Migration and Mining in Melanesia: Anthropological Perspectives

Date: Thursday, 25 May 2017 - Thursday, 25 May 2017
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Goddard Building (08)
The University of Queensland
St Lucia Campus
Room - 388


Migration and Mining in Melanesia: Anthropological Perspectives

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Thursday 25 May with Associate Professor Nick Bainton, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, The University of Queensland.

Migration has been a central feature of the Melanesian human landscape for centuries as part of the maintenance of kin relations, marriage, trade and exchange or displacement from warfare, and more recently in response to environmental hazards. In-migration around large-scale resource extraction projects, or what the World Bank calls project-induced in-migration, is a common contemporary social phenomenon throughout Melanesia, but it often differs in significant spatial and temporal ways from other forms of migration. In addition to unprecedented social and environmental change generated by large-scale resource development, in-migration places enormous pressure upon host communities, project operators and local government actors. As such, in-migration often creates complex and overwhelming consequences and the question of so-called ‘migrant management’ is a vexed issue for all parties.

This seminar paper draws on long term ethnographic and applied research on the extractive industries in Papua New Guinea, and more recent research on the ways in which extractive companies understand and attempt to ‘manage’ in-migration and the attendant social and business risks. The primary purpose of this paper is to provide an ethnographic account of the social relations of project-induced in-migration. A secondary purpose is to chart an emerging research agenda on the intersection between in-migration and mining-induced displacement and resettlement and the implications for sustainable livelihoods in resource enclaves.

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