In recent years, the ever-increasing global demand for strategic and high value mineral resources has focused much attention on the social and environmental sustainability of their extraction, both in host communities and at wider scales. Mining—whether large-scale or small-scale, regulated or informal, capital-intensive or artisanal—can be an important source of income generation in poor, employment-constrained economies, either directly or indirectly through upstream and downstream multiplier effects. But at the same time, there are few activities that leave as great an ecological footprint, or are as capable of having as much influence on the wellbeing of a society, as a large-scale mine or oil and gas project. Extractive industry investments across the globe have increasingly been accompanied by social mobilization and conflict around the adverse effects of extraction. The sustainability of extraction and the unequal distribution of resource revenues has spawned extensive debate among researchers, civil society and policy makers in recent years.
The Natural Resource Extraction, Sustainability and Social Justice research cluster at Bath is committed to interdisciplinary research which aims to deepen understanding of the impacts of extraction on social, political and ecological relations. In exploring more sustainable and just institutional arrangements around extraction, our focus is both local and global, involving cross-disciplinary dialogue that draws upon geography, anthropology, politics, political ecology, social ethics, business studies and engineering. Within the cluster, we are motivated by applied and comparative research that seeks to inform multi-scalar approaches to resource governance, and promote greater social and environmental justice in the extraction and management of natural resources and the transition to low carbon societies.