Sub-theme 1: Mining industry controversies

Participants: Hans-Kristian Hernes (lead), Greg Poelzer, Cathy Howlett, Else Grete Broderstad, Sven-Roald Nystø, Horatio Sam-Aggrey

Objectives: To examine and compare the implications of new and emerging forms of governance across the state, civil and corporate sectors, for Indigenous and local community engagement in the extractive industries sector.

The increasing demand for energy and resources in the last few decades has fuelled the growth of extractive industries in all corners of the globe (Gilberthorpe and Hilson 2014). De Rijke (2013: 13) contends that global energy demand is projected to increase by over one third from 2012 to 2035. There is thus growing pressure to expand extractive industries across the globe, and a concomitant pressure for access to Indigenous lands (O’Faircheallaigh 2013: 20). On the other hand there are increasing opportunities for Indigenous people to participate in the development of extractive resources. There are however, differences in domestic law and governance influencing Indigenous engagement and participation in extractive industries across the jurisdictions we are investigating in this study, and varying outcomes for those communities involved. Because of the environmental contestation surrounding sustainability of extractive resources, Indigenous engagement in this contentious milieu is fraught and complex and subject to certain ideological constructions of Indigenous peoples that may also influence their opportunities to engage in extractive energy opportunities.

This theme will focus on international comparisons of the forces affecting existing Indigenous engagement with extractive industry opportunities, including the various state mineral policy regimes; the extent to which the Corporate Social Responsibility policies and behaviours of the various companies reflect the international norms and guidelines (the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UNDRIP) related to extractive industries and Indigenous peoples; and finally, the character and efficacy of the agreements that Indigenous peoples are entering into with companies, such as Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) in Canada and Indigenous Land Use Agreements in (ILUAs) Australia. What kind of voluntary efforts by industries can be identified vis-à-vis Indigenous and local communities? How do legislation, state regulations and policies affect government involvement in industry-Indigenous negotiated agreements, and how do these arrangements impact the communities’ adaptive capacity? The project aims to identify what are the key factors necessary for equitable and socially just outcomes for Indigenous peoples who do seek to participate in opportunities such as mining and energy development.

The researchers in this sub-theme will undertake comparative analysis of the regulation of extractive industries in each domain, (the state), the impact of this regulation on corporate policy and behaviour in each domain (the market), and the effects for Indigenous peoples and local communities (the civil) that are affected by, or participate in, resource extractive opportunities. In summary, it aims to provide a global comparative analysis of the governance of resource extraction that can inform future Indigenous and local community participation in resource extraction opportunities. The main research methods used include semi structured interviews with key actors from the three arenas of state, market and civil society organisations, and desk analysis of the following: literature and policy documents related to resource extraction in each domain; the corporate policies of the resource extractive companies; and analysis of the various agreements that Indigenous peoples have entered into across the various jurisdictions.