Can remote Australian communities survive the mining boom?

Published 30 September 2014

Australia is littered with settlements left deserted following the gold rush. So what do remote communities of the 21st century need to do to ensure they don’t become ghost towns post mining?

That is the question University of New England PhD Student Stuart Robertson is examining as part of his work with the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation.

“There is currently very limited data to indicate how dependent the surrounding communities are on mining activity and what impact will be felt by these communities if the mines close,” Mr Robertson said.

“The research will be focusing on the North Flinders Range Region in South Australia but will have implications for all regional communities who have mining activity in their region.

“We will be looking at the degree of dependence that the surrounding communities and the region more generally have upon a mine and the range of goods, services and infrastructure mining brings.

“The Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation hope the findings will be used by government and mining companies to inform the planning processes to ensure communities are viable post mining and can handle the peaks and troughs of the mining cycle.“

Olympic Dam and Leigh Creek in the North Flinders Ranges are the two mines that the research will centre around and people are being sought from the region to participate in the research project by completing a survey.

“If you are from Roxby Downs, Leigh Creek and the surrounding pastoral properties and communities and would like to take part, take the online survey.”

If you would prefer to complete the survey in a printed form please contact Mr Robertson at by email or on 0412 669 810.