International Journal of Rural Law and Policy
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1839-745X
Published by University of Technology Sydney [8 journals]
- Environment pollution: The rise of militarism and terrorism in the Niger
Delta of Nigeria
Authors: Christian Madubuko
Abstract: Oil was discovered in large quantities in Nigeria in 1956 and exploration began in the same year. Before oil, agriculture and fishing had assured the Niger Delta people of a bright future. Since 1956, oil has been extracted from the Niger Delta with destructive consequences on the environment, bringing about environmental degradation and destruction of the people’s primary means of livelihood. Land and water were badly polluted, and the health of the people affected because of leaks from oil pipelines, gas flaring and acid rains. Several petitions and non-violent protests by Delta communities, women and youth against environmental destruction failed to receive attention. Rather, opposition to peaceful protests earned the people military invasions of their communities, clampdowns and jailings. The rise of militarism and terrorism in the Niger Delta was the result of the Federal Government and Oil Companies’ clampdown on non-violent protests for environmental justice in the Niger Delta. This paper discusses the history of oil exploration in the Niger Delta, oil laws, effects of oil exploration in the region, and the rise of militants and terrorists in the area. The paper uses the term, ‘environmental Justice’ to denote unfair treatment and destruction of the Delta environment resulting from oil exploration, non implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, and abuse of human rights.The paper suggests solutions for peace in the Niger Delta.
- Open-cut coal mining in Australia's Hunter Valley: Sustainability and
the industry's economic, ecological and social implications
Authors: Drew Cottle, Angela Keys
Abstract: This article questions the sustainability of open-cut coal mining in the Hunter Valley region of Australia. The issue of sustainability is examined in relation to the economic, ecological and social implications of the Hunter Valley’s open-cut coal mining industry. The article demonstrates that critical social and ecological ramifications have been overshadowed by the open-cut coal mining industry’s importance to the economy of the Hunter region and of New South Wales.
- Mining in a sustainable world: program; bios and abstracts; commentaries:
Authors: Jacqueline Williams
Abstract: This section contains three documents:Commentaries: which are short versions of papers that were presented at the Mining in a Sustainable World conference (UNE, 13 to 15 October 2013). The papers were submitted by authors for inclusion in the journal but not for peer review.Program of the Mining in a Sustainable World conference (UNE, 13 to 15 October 2013).Bios and Abstracts of presenters at the Mining in a Sustainable World conference (UNE, 13 to 15 October 2013).
- The governance of natural resources: Issues affecting better management of
revenues and distribution of benefits within Papua New Guinea
Authors: Hitelai Polume-Kiele
Abstract: Papua New Guinea is rich in natural resources, including minerals, oil, gas, timber and fish, and cash crops such as coffee, palm oil, cocoa, copra, rubber, tea and spices which contribute significantly to Papua New Guinea’s overall development. Several mining, oil and gas companies are currently operating in Porgera, Ok Tedi, Lihir, Hidden Valley, Sinivit, Simberi, Tolukuma, Kutubu and Gobe. The operations of these companies have generated an estimated K13.42 billion to Papua New Guinea’s economy. Landowners affected by these developments also receive royalties from those operations. However this wealth has not been translated into tangible human development across the country, as shown in persistently poorly performing social indicators. Instead income from the exploitation of natural resources is being used in unplanned projects and not focused on the delivery of core social functions, such as the provision of a stable and non-distorting policy aimed at building and sustaining the development of a modern market, and legislative and regulatory frameworks, social services, social security and social infrastructure which would lead to the improvement in the delivery of essential services to all Papua New Guineans. There is widespread evidence of benefits not being distributed to all landowners. Landowners are yet to fulfil their aspirations regarding these developments and to see improvements in their living standards. This paper discusses two case studies: the Porgera and Lihir mines, outlining the landowners associations’ experiences, which illustrate issues of governance and management of the distribution of benefit flows from the exploitation of Papua New Guinea’s natural resource wealth.The focus of the article’s discussion is on governance and management issues that affect the distribution of benefits, delivery of essential services to rural areas of PNG, stability within government, and the expectations of landowners.
- The contribution of carbon pricing to sustainable mining
Authors: Sam Meng, Mahinda Siriwardana, Judith McNeill
Abstract: Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are essential to reducing the rate and scale of anthropogenic climate change to levels that can sustain the planet’s biosphere. A carbon tax is a policy measure that is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the prices of the highest carbon-polluting goods and services in an economy, thus encouraging substitution towards resultant relatively cheaper and less-polluting goods where possible. When Australia introduced such a tax in 2012, there was a fear that it could threaten the resources boom, considered the engine of Australian economic growth in recent years. By employing a computable general equilibrium model and an environmentally-extended Social Accounting Matrix, this paper demonstrates the effects of a carbon tax on the resources sector. The modelled results show that, in a flexible exchange rate regime, all resources within the sector will be affected negatively but to different degrees. The brown coal sector will be the hardest hit, with a 25.74 per cent decrease in output, 52.94 per cent decrease in employment and 89.37 per cent decrease in profitability. However, other resources in the sector would be only mildly affected. From the point of view of sustainability, the most significant results are that, under the carbon tax, the resources sector contributes considerably to the carbon emission reduction target of Australia. Given that brown coal accounts for only a small portion of the resources sector, it is reasonable to suggest that a carbon tax would not significantly affect the overall performance of the sector.
- The Australian Movement against Uranium Mining: Its Rationale and
Authors: Marty Branagan
Abstract: This paper begins with a brief historical overview of the Australian movement against uranium mining, before focussing on two major campaigns: Roxby and Jabiluka. It describes the reasons the activists gave at the time for their blockades of the Roxby Downs uranium mine in South Australia in 1983 and 1984. These reasons – such as perceptions that the industry is unsafe - have changed little over time and were the basis for the campaign against the proposed Jabiluka mine in the Northern Territory in 1998. They continue to be cited by environmental groups and Aboriginal Traditional Owners to this day as new situations arise, such as the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.The paper then describes how the movement evolved between the Roxby and Jabiluka blockades, with changes to the movement’s philosophy, strategy, tactics and internal dynamics. This analysis includes a comparison between two anti-nuclear bike rides, one a year after the 1984 Roxby blockade and involving some of the same activists, and another at the time of the Jabiluka blockade. This author was present at all these events, and provides an emic (insider) perspective within a longitudinal participant-observation methodology. Although this perspective obviously has a subjective element, the paper fills a gap in that there is little written history of these blockades (particularly Roxby) and more generally of Australian resistance to uranium mining, let alone the aspects of nonviolence and movement evolution. It is an introductory history of these campaigns, examining the direct action components, the practicalities of nonviolent campaigning, and the evolution of Australian anti-uranium activism.
- Tracking the Boom in Queensland’s Gasfields
Authors: Will Rifkin, Vikki Uhlmann, Jo-Anne Everingham, Kylie May
Abstract: During rapid resource development in a highly contested arena, effective processes for characterising cumulative, social and economic impacts are needed. In this article, we explain a strategy that uses an iterative process involving stakeholders to identify indicators of impacts of onshore natural gas development. The aim of the strategy is to arrive at a small set of indicators that those in the community, government and industry agree are salient and credible.Four major joint ventures are investing more than A$60 billion to tap Queensland, Australia’s onshore natural gas resources. Thousands of wells are reaching into natural gas in seams of coal that lie below aquifers that residents refer to as essential for their heavily agricultural region. The magnitude of these developments has been depicted as threatening the traditional base of political power that has rested with farmers. Nearby coal mining has given some communities the experience of the boomtown cycle, but it is placing unfamiliar strains on municipal resources in other towns. Gas companies provide funds in attempts to mitigate impacts, satisfying requirements of their elaborate social impact management plans (SIMPs).The research reported in this paper, though only mid-way to completion, suggests that an action-research approach to developing indicators of cumulative impacts on housing, business, employment, liveability and trust in government shows promise for enabling stakeholders to track the multi-faceted effects of a resource boom. We hope that such work helps stakeholders to mitigate the ups and downs of the cycle of boom, bust and recovery that can be driven by resource development.
- Editorial: Mining in a Sustainable World
Authors: Marty Branagan, Jacqueline Williams, Amanda Kennedy
Abstract: Humanity has reaped great benefits from mining. Over the millennia that humans have practiced mining, there have been many obvious improvements in mining’s environmental and social impacts. However, some aspects of mining still involve an element of ecological violence and, in Australia, there is a growing amount of conflict concerned with mining. These two related issues – ‘ecological violence’ and ‘conflict’ – were explored at the ‘Mining in a Sustainable World’ conference on 13 to 15 October 2013 at the University of New England campus in Armidale, Australia. The conference was a joint initiative of the University of New England’s Peace Studies and Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law. Specifically, conference delegates were interested in exploring the work being done to reduce ecological violence and conflict. Articles in this special edition of the International Journal of Rural Law and Policy arose from that conference. This editorial provides an overview of the rationale for the conference and the issues explored.
- Mine Lifecycle Planning and Enduring Value for Remote communities
Authors: Stuart Robertson, Boyd Blackwell
Abstract: Mine lifecycle planning is critical to developing enduring value from mining for remote communities. The history of mining is replete with examples of communities being unsustainable post mine closure. The concept of enduring value involves ensuring that a sustainable community will remain following the closure of an associated mine. Since 2003, awareness has increased amongst the International and Australian peak mining bodies for the need to plan for enduring community value. This increased awareness has developed alongside the requirement for mining companies to operate in a socially responsible manner by maintaining a social license to operate. This paper thematically reviews the literature relevant to mine life cycle planning, enduring value, the socio-economic impacts of mining, and mine closure. Conditions required for a community to gain enduring value from mining include: ‘normalisation’ rather than being a ‘closed’ town; the existence of government support and funding; and realised economic diversification opportunities. It is imperative that these conditions are given due consideration 1) in the initial stages of mine and town planning and 2) throughout the life of the mine through ongoing monitoring and community engagement. However, we acknowledge the shortcomings in assuming planning is a panacea and suggest areas for further testing.
- If mining conflicts suppress the right of public participation, then can
mining be sustainable?
Authors: Judith Preston
Abstract: Mining of natural resources has surpassed agriculture as the basis for Australia’s economy; but at what cost? It is essential to Australia’s economic health to have access to a continuing income stream from a number of sources including minerals. However, there is a presumption – in both the political and resources sectors – that mining interests should trump all other interests, including social and environmental ones. A number of recent conflicts involving major mining projects in Australia and overseas have highlighted the fallacy of the claimed economic and social benefits, as well as the dangers to the community, the legal profession and the judiciary of suppressing public participation in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process.Any actions by the executive to exclude public participation in reviewing documentation related to resource management and extractive developments by legislative or policy changes such as the proposed new planning legislation in NSW and the new mining State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining Petroleum, Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013 (Amended Mining SEPP), are retrogressive steps. The argument in this paper is that, due to the often negative and large-scale impacts that mineral extraction developments may have on the community and the environment, mineral extraction developments should be subject to a rigorous EIA processes which incorporate effective and inclusive rights of public participation, especially in relation to major projects. Such rights should be enshrined in environmental legislation in the objects clause, standing for merit and judicial review provisions, and there should be a duty for the decision-makers to properly consider public submissions. Such provisions may lead to revision of the development or its outright rejection. Furthermore, innovative policies, programmes and legislative reform should be drafted to protect public participation and the right to oppose inappropriate developments.