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Mining and the Environment in Melanesia: Contemporary Debates Reviewed

Mining and the Environment in Melanesia: Contemporary Debates Reviewed Recent controversies linked with the large-scale mines in Melanesia largely revolve around the impact of their waste management strategies on downstream communities. This issue has generated debate and conflict at Ok Tedi and Porgera in Papua New Guinea, PT Freeport Indonesia's Grasberg mine in Irian Jaya, and Ross Mining's Gold Ridge mine in the Solomon Islands. In each case, the issue is generally portrayed as purely an environmental one. There is evidence, though, that from the indigenous perspective the range of issues involved extends beyond the environmental to take in economic, social, political, and cultural concerns. In this paper, I revisit debates about the links between the environment and economic development in the context of mining in Melanesia. I suggest that the distinction between environmental and other causes of these disputes is overstated in relation to Melanesian communities. Instead, I argue that disputes over the impacts of the mines are better understood as disputes over community control of resources, and hence control over the direction of their lives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Mining and the Environment in Melanesia: Contemporary Debates Reviewed

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 14 (1) – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464
Publisher site
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Abstract

Recent controversies linked with the large-scale mines in Melanesia largely revolve around the impact of their waste management strategies on downstream communities. This issue has generated debate and conflict at Ok Tedi and Porgera in Papua New Guinea, PT Freeport Indonesia's Grasberg mine in Irian Jaya, and Ross Mining's Gold Ridge mine in the Solomon Islands. In each case, the issue is generally portrayed as purely an environmental one. There is evidence, though, that from the indigenous perspective the range of issues involved extends beyond the environmental to take in economic, social, political, and cultural concerns. In this paper, I revisit debates about the links between the environment and economic development in the context of mining in Melanesia. I suggest that the distinction between environmental and other causes of these disputes is overstated in relation to Melanesian communities. Instead, I argue that disputes over the impacts of the mines are better understood as disputes over community control of resources, and hence control over the direction of their lives.

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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