Objectives and research themes

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The Knowledge Network Mining Encounters and Indigenous Sustainable Livelihoods: Cross-Perspectives from the Circumpolar North and Melanesia/Australia (the MinErAL network) brings together partners and researchers from the Canadian North, Fennoscandia, Australia, and New Caledonia. Its main focus is on indigenous peoples and mining encounters. It provides opportunities to indigenous organizations, regional and local governments and researchers to exchange and generate knowledge that will provide material for evidence-based decision-making


  • Create a knowledge network on the consequences of mineral exploration and extraction for Indigenous sustainable livelihoods and the mechanisms that can be developed to mitigate the negative impacts;
  • Enable Indigenous governments and organizations to share information and experiences on those subjects;
  • Serve as a forum where researchers will share their findings to the different indigenous organizations and government;
  • Support ongoing and future research projects on those subjects;
  • Develop comparative analysis on the impacts of mining activities on the recognition of Indigenous rights and indigenous self-government;
  • Enhance the capacity of regional and local governments and Indigenous communities and organizations to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impacts of resource development
  • Contribute to the training of graduate students and Indigenous researchers

Research themes (work packages)

To favour cross-cultural-perspectives and interdisciplinarity, the researchers and partners work together in the six following work packages:

WP 1: Gap analysis and comparison

In this work package, the Network will identify gaps in knowledge about the mining industry and Indigenous peoples in their respective countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, New Caledonia, Australia, and Canada.

Researchers and Partners

WP 2: The interrelations of social, cultural, well-being and natural impacts

This package’s focus is on the social, cultural and  environmental impacts of extractive industries, the ways they are interrelated, how they affect community well-being and influence Indigenous sustainable livelihoods.

Researchers and Partners

WP 3: Work regimes and indigenous employment

In this package, the Network will map the challenges and successes of Indigenous employment in the mining sector and document the ways to develop best practices.

Researchers and Partners

WP 4: Indigenous legal and political rights

The Network will look at the different legal and political environments in the circumpolar regions as well as in Oceania and how they impact and are being impacted by resource developments.

Researchers and Partners

WP 5: Sustainable regional and local development

In numerous cases when mining developments occurs near indigenous communities, the population is not able to capture and retain the economic benefits. Moreover, the social impacts generated by the resource developments often exceed the benefits that are gained. This work package will address the “resource curse” and the key factors to maximise positive and lessen negative impacts of resource development for Indigenous communities.

Researchers and Partners

WP 6: Glocal encounters

In this package, the Network will study the challenges encountered by communities when negotiating IBAs with transnational mining organizations. It also studies the role of transnational Indigenous organizations in mediating these ‘glocal’ encounters and their ability to mitigate power imbalances.

Researchers and Partners