Mining and development : examining the effectiveness of mining company community development intervention in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
This thesis explores the effectiveness of mining company contributions to development
within the gold mining communities of Lihir and Simberi islands, in New Ireland Province,
Papua New Guinea (PNG). More specifically, it analyses the extent to which forms of
community development intervention undertaken on Lihir Island by Newcrest Mining Ltd, and
on Simberi Island by St Barbara Ltd, actually support meaningful forms of development.
This has been achieved through the use of development ethics (Goulet 1995) as a
conceptual research framework, which when applied in research practice, gives priority to
the wellbeing of those whose realities may be ignored, misread or marginalised within the
neoliberal realm of development.
This research is based on a total of four months of fieldwork undertaken on Lihir and Simberi
islands. It draws on community narratives to frame the relevance of human wellbeing,
human rights and inclusive development as development ethics within the research context.
This development ethics research lens facilitates discussion about the meaningfulness of
development intervention from a morally-informed community development perspective.
Underpinned by a locally contextualised appreciation of what human wellbeing and
meaningful development means on Lihir and Simberi islands (which results in the exposition
of a set of local Community Wellbeing and Development Rights), a critical review of the
practice and governance of development intervention within each Island community is then
detailed. The analysis of development interventions then proceeds using firstly an evaluation
of practices within a human rights lens, and secondly consideration of inclusive development
outcomes relative to Newcrest's and St Barbara’s development related rhetoric.
The resulting account of mining company community development intervention is critical, but
ultimately hopeful. This hopefulness reflects the hope of customary landowners that mining
will one day lead to meaningful development benefits. The analysis from this development
ethics lens reveals insights into the promotion of social justice through the delivery of mining
company development interventions. It is argued that mining companies have the
opportunity to enhance a set of locally significant and internationally recognised human
rights that are important to the wellbeing and development of customary landowners.
Although, in some instances, mining company performance is falling short with respect to the
enhancement of these human rights, it is argued that the enhancement of Community
Wellbeing and Development Rights exists as a potential means for mining companies to add
value to host communities. However, if such a development programme is to be meaningful
to customary landowners, it must also advance equity and fairness. If mining companies fail
to navigate such complexities, this thesis contends that mining, and forms of mining
company community development intervention, will likely do more harm to communities than