Social scientific mining research

The discussion about natural resources and especially about the mining industry has become a current topic over the past few years. The essential aims of rural policy and rural development are to diversify and develop livelihoods and entrepreneurship in rural areas.

In this context, the mining industry has been seen as an important possibility for increasing vitality; it might provide the preconditions of living in rural areas by offering jobs and creating new entrepreneurship needed by the mining industry.

Mining projects have been seen especially significant for rural areas of Northern and Eastern Finland from the viewpoint of employment, livelihoods and local development.

Mining is always local, but the products are exported globally. Mining can be considered an interaction and/or conflict between the control and use of local natural resources by international and local actors. Questions of impacts, knowledge, responsibility and possibilities of local communities to interact in the process are included in these relationships.

Different interests and views might lead to conflicts over controlling mineral resources or because of the impacts of mining. Social scientific mining research is interested in social and regional impacts of mining in all its diversity.

Mining has positive, as well as negative impacts. Mining changes the environment and landscape and has impacts on recreation and tourism. Also it has impacts on living, communality and the development of local communities.

The environmental and health risks of a mine cause uncertainty. Ensuring a district's vitality after the end of mining is also an important question. At the same time, it is believed that mining increases vitality and improves the economy and employment in rural areas. Social scientific mining research is interested in the interaction between mining actors, local authorities and local communities, as well as in the potential conflicts and possibilities and forms of governance of the mining.