The rainy season has well and truly set in. I left West Timor in November 2016 after 7 months fieldwork. The land was dry, parched and dusty.
I came to Charles Darwin University in 2013 and completed a Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Knowledges. Previously I completed an Honours degree in Science (Biodiversity and Conservation) from Flinders University in South Australia. My Honours thesis was focused on understanding the impacts of fire, fragmentation and introduced species on pollination systems on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
Between 2010-2014 I worked for Greening Australia and Trees For Life performing on-ground revegetation and conservation activities as well as some consultancy work including designing flora and fauna guides, and conservation action plans. During this time I came to understand that our management of natural resources is significantly influenced by our world views, in particular our perspectives, values and beliefs, and that our motivation to create a sustainable relationship depends on a meaningful connection with the environment.
The current PhD project ‘Approaches to small-scale manganese mining in West Timor, Indonesia: Perspectives, values, beliefs and sustainability’ provides the opportunity to explore the management of a non-renewable resource in the context of local world views.
PhD Project: ‘Approaches to small-scale manganese mining in West Timor, Indonesia: Perspectives, values, beliefs and sustainability’
Assoc Prof Natasha Stacey (CDU)
Assoc Prof Bronwyn Myers (CDU)
Rohan Fisher (CDU)
Dr I Wayan Mudita (Universitas Nusa Cendana, NTT, Indonesia)
Small-scale mining is an important and widely practised livelihood globally and in Indonesia, providing important economic benefits. There are, however, multiple detrimental environmental and health impacts associated with small-scale mining including pollution, deforestation, increased crime and health issues. Manganese mining is a relatively new livelihood in West Timor, beginning around 2007, and is unique in that it is not performed anywhere else in the world on a small-scale and exhibits different challenges and benefits. This new livelihood is challenging and reinforcing local perspectives, values and beliefs, as it varies significantly from the predominant livelihood of subsistence farming.
There exists a diversity of world views exhibited by people involved in mining in West Timor, influenced by local culture, religion, historical events and current rapid development. This diversity in world views, has led to a range of approaches to manganese mining such as whether it is practiced or not and to what extent in different areas of West Timor. This study focuses on understanding these different and diverse approaches through contextualising local perspectives, values and beliefs. The perspectives, values and beliefs ultimately influence the actions and decisions made regarding the current management of mining at the local level, and determine its ability to provide long-term benefits and a sustainable livelihood.
Aim: To understand the perceptions, values and beliefs which influence the diversity of approaches to small-scale mining in West Timor, Indonesia.
The research is guided by three key objectives:
Objective 1: To investigate the different approaches to manganese mining in West Timor derived from the diversity of current world views
Objective 2: To contextualise the range of perceptions, values and beliefs influencing the different approaches to manganese mining in West Timor
Objective 3: To examine local and global concepts of sustainability regarding non-renewable resource extraction.
This study is a part of the larger Government Partnerships for Development (GPFD) project titled ‘Artisanal and small scale mining for development (eastern Indonesia)’, focused on both gold mining in Sulawesi and manganese mining in West Timor.
The GPFD project is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and administered by Charles Darwin University in collaboration with the Australian National University, two Indonesian universities (Universitas Nusa Cendana, UNDANA, and Universitas Halu Oleo, UHO) and Indonesian government agencies in two provinces (Nusa Tenggara Timur and South East Sulawesi). The GPFD project runs from mid 2014 to end of 2016 and aims to address the negative impacts of artisanal and small-scale mining in eastern Indonesia by building local capacity.