The anthropology of resource extraction has largely focused on the impacts of mining projects on local host communities. There has been much less consideration of the dynamics of mining companies in resource relations, be it as a result of their reluctance to expose themselves to ethnographic scrutiny (Ballard and Banks, 2003) or limitations on release and disclosure of findings (Kemp and Owen, 2013). In this paper I offer insights into the role and experiences of the Community Affairs personnel (CAs) at the Frieda River Project in Papua New Guinea. I describe how, in light of the company’s focus on budgets and preference for rigid knowledge practices, the CAs were left to bridge the relational gap between the company and the increasingly impatient local communities. I use ethnographic material and interview data to show how the CAs understood their roles in the contested context of an advanced resource exploration project, and how they navigated the difficult terrain in-between relationships, roles and expectations.

About the Presenter

Emilka Skrzypek is a social anthropologist with a background in sustainable development and an interdisciplinary interest in corporate social responsibility. She holds an MA(Hons) in Sustainable Development, as well as an MRes and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews. She is currently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow, co-hosted by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (University of Queensland) and the Centre for Pacific Studies (University of St Andrews). Her work investigates issues related to broadly conceived resource relations and interdependencies; stakeholder engagement in mining contexts; and social impacts of mineral resource development projects.


About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.


Level 2, Michie Building #09, St Lucia Campus