Peace Studies Conference

Mining in a Sustainable World: Environmental, Social, and Political Economic Issues

Peaceful protest at a Lock the Gate rally

Interdisciplinary Conference

13-15 October 2013 University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Opened by Cr. Laurie Bishop, Mayor, Armidale Dumaresq Council

Video recordings of the conference presentations are now available.

Conference videos

Programme (PDF, 1380.01 KB)

Confirmed speakers

Assoc Prof Will Rifkin, Chair in Social Performance, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland: 'Tracking the Boom – Indicators of Socioeconomic Impacts of Coal Seam Gas Development in Regional Queensland' 

Lee Rhiannon, Federal Senator, Australian Greens

Sharyn Munro, author of Rich Land, Wasteland

Prof Amarjit Kaur, UNE Business School: 'Not in my backyard: Lynas Corp, the rare earth refinery in  Malaysia and Himpunan Hijau (Green Gathering)' Movement'

Prof Chan Chee-khoon, health policy analyst at the Center for Population Health, University of Malaya: 'The legacy of the Asian Rare Earth refinery at Bukit Merah (Ipoh), Malaysia'

Scot MacDonald, Member of the Legislative Council in NSW.

Dr Gavin Mudd, Director, Mineral Policy Institute

Dr Anne Poelina, Nyikina Traditional Owner, Managing Director, Majala Inc., and

Peter Cullen Fellow: 'The Kimberley: Neo-colonialism, Participatory Planning and Regional Governance Mechanisms' (songs, film and talking circle)

Dr Amanda Kennedy, Snr Lecturer/Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, UNE

Dr Jacqueline Williams, Senior Researcher, Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law

Dr Bert Jenkins, Senior Lecturer, Peace Studies, UNE: 'Lessons from Panguna'

Dr Marty Branagan, Lecturer, Peace Studies, UNE: 'Australian Opposition to Uranium Mining: A History of Nonviolence Development'

Dr BoydBlackwell, Research Fellow, CRC for Remote Economic Participation, UNE: 'Remote Communities and Enduring Value from Mining'

Methuen Morgan, PhD student, School of Behavioural, Cognitive & Social Sciences, UNE

Glen Klatovsky, National Campaigner, The Wilderness Society, 'Phasing Out Coal, Oil and Gas Exploitation'

Carol J Bond, PhD Candidate/Research Technician, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, UQ: 'Mining and Peace: Paradox or Paradigm Shift'?

Judith Preston, Lecturer, Macquarie University: 'If Mining Conflicts Suppress the Right of Public Participation, then Can Mining Be Sustainable?

Dr Sam Meng (Research Fellow at Institute for Rural Futures, UNE): Will Australian Carbon Tax affect the Resources Boom? Results from a CGE Model

Caroline Graham, Rivers SOS Alliance founder and Lock the Gate Representative, Macarthur Region: 'Undermining the Special Areas: Mining Impacts on Sydney's Water Catchment'

Theodore Mawe, Senior Tutor, University of Goroka, PNG: 'Mining and Sustainable Development'

Isabel Buitrago-Franco, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, UQ; and

Tathagata Chatterji, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, UQ: 'Planning for Social Sustainability in Mining Regions'

Questions Considered

What is the relationship between mining and sustainability? Given that extraction is generally a once-off process, is mining generating enough public finances to pay for long-term environmental consequences, such as disposal of radioactive waste? Are future generations, farmlands and the environment being adequately protected through governance? Is the precautionary principle being utilised sufficiently, for example with regard to underground water and carbon emissions?

What are the economic advantages and disadvantages of mining booms? Are the benefits of mining being distributed equitably? How much employment does it generate, and is this employment sustainable? Are mining companies faced with too much red tape? What are the impacts of Fly-In Fly-Out practices on rural communities and on workers?  What is the impact of mining on Aboriginal communities?

What are the ethics of allowing mining on public lands, such as nature reserves and state forests? What ethical dilemmas arise over corporate and government access to private land? Do communities have adequate control over disputed practices such as coal seam gas extraction? What are the various dimensions and elements of the conflicts between communities, mining companies and governments? Can they be resolved or transformed, and if so, how? What is the role of protest and nonviolence (including use of the arts and new social media) in ensuring sustainability and equity? What new social movements are forming around mining issues?

What mining is essential? What alternatives to mining exist, such as through reductions in consumption, better energy efficiency, development of renewable energy? Where should public funding be directed?

General Enquiries

This conference aims to be both of a high academic standard and widely-accessible to the general public. In contrast with the expensive nature of many industry and, to a lesser extent, academic conferences, and to resuscitate the notion of universities as places for universal learning as a public good (rather than competitive, corporatised businesses), this conference has a minimal registration fee. Self-sufficiency with regards to accommodation and transport is expected.

General enquiries may be directed to:

Dr Marty Branagan, Peace Studies, UNE
Phone 02 6773 3951