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Anthropology in the Mining Industry: Community Relations by Glynn Cochrane

By Glynn Cochrane

This booklet outlines how Rio Tinto—one of the world’s biggest miners—redesigned and rebuilt relationships with groups after the rejection of the corporate in the course of Bougainville’s Civil battle. Glynn Cochrane remembers how he and associates applied their education as social anthropologists to aid the corporate to earn an management acceptance and aggressive company virtue by means of constructing the case for long term, at the floor, smoke-in-the-eyes interplay with humans in neighborhood groups worldwide, regardless of the charm of maximal potency suggestions and speedier, more uncomplicated solutions. rather than utilizing ready-made, formulaic toolkits, Rio Tinto depended on group practitioners to attempt to deal with neighborhood personal tastes and cultural variations. This quantity offers a step by step account of the way mining businesses can use social anthropological and ethnographic insights to layout methods of operating with neighborhood groups, particularly in occasions of upheaval.

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Extra info for Anthropology in the Mining Industry: Community Relations after Bougainville's Civil War

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18. This landowner question was one where the Melanesian Alliance political party had the same perspective on land ownership as the Bougainville landowners. BOUGAINVILLE LESSONS FOR RIO TINTO 33 19. See Cochrane (1974). 20. See Filer (1990). 21. Personal communication from an ex-BCL employee. 22. For one example of what might be done, see Skalnik (1989). 23. Douglas Oliver worked for CRA from 1968 till 1974. See Oliver (1955, 1991). 24. See Laracy (1976). 25. For examples of the use of anthropology see Belshaw (1976), Brokensha (1966), Forster (1969), Hoben (1982), Angrosino (1976), Grillo and Rew (1985).

Large areas of the Guaymi homeland had undergone a process of desertification, the result of the growing inability of the hard laterite soils with no vegetational cover to retain water. Over 80 percent of the land was no longer suitable for cropping, and desertification was increasing. Excessive slash and burn exploitation of the environment was estimated, by the World Bank, to be capable of causing permanent damage to agriculture on the Chiriquí plains within a 20- to 30-year period. As soils on the steep slopes in the High Sierra became more and more unable to hold water, both flash flooding and drought would increase on the Chiriquí plains.

London supplied a Managing Director and a board member to BCL, and BCL continued to operate the Bougainville Foundation for the benefit of all Bougainvilleans. What London did not do was position Rio Tinto for the questions that would be asked when, inevitably, there were questions 28 G. COCHRANE about whether or not the company wanted to reopen the mine. It would have been useful to try to position the company for a reentry into the limelight by making the case for the fact that Rio Tinto had not started the war and doing more to combat the accusation that the company had aided the PNG government in its prosecution of the war.

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