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Social impacts of the “glocal” mining business: case studies from Northern Europe


  • Leena Suopajärvi

    (University of Lapland)

  • Thomas Ejdemo

    (Luleå University of Technology)

  • Elena Klyuchnikova

    (Russian Academy of Sciences)

  • Elena Korchak

    (Russian Academy of Sciences)

  • Vigdis Nygaard

    (Northern Research Institute (NORUT))

  • Gregory A. Poelzer

    (Luleå University of Technology)


Mining is a global business with international networks of production and consumption, but mineral deposits are place specific and the impacts of mining projects are mostly experienced locally. Hence, mining is an example of a glocal phenomenon par excellence: global processes are realized in local communities and environments. This paper discusses the social impacts of mining in eight communities situated in Northern Europe. The data consist of 85 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2013 and 2014. Using a qualitative approach and starting from the bottom-up, the analyses identified three impact frames that combined individual experiences and meanings expressed in the interviews. The first impact frame focuses on environmental justice. Environmental impacts are corporeal, cognitive, and emotional, as they affect the real life of people living in the vicinity of the mine. The main finding is that environmental “bads” are experienced locally in the North, whereas the economic “goods” go to mining companies and consumers in the “South.” The second impact frame looks at the loss of livelihoods and the cultural way of life. Mining is seen as a threat, especially to reindeer herding and nature-based practices. In the areas where mining is a new industry, the activity is seen as antithetical to those small-scale activities of a local economy. The third impact frame centers on experiences and concerns about the dependency of a community on a single industry. When the fortunes of local communities are dependent on international business and the fluctuations of global markets, the residents feel that they have no power to influence the developments and can thus only adapt.

Suggested Citation

  • Leena Suopajärvi & Thomas Ejdemo & Elena Klyuchnikova & Elena Korchak & Vigdis Nygaard & Gregory A. Poelzer, 2017. "Social impacts of the “glocal” mining business: case studies from Northern Europe," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 30(1), pages 31-39, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:30:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s13563-016-0092-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-016-0092-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keith Storey, 2010. "Fly-in/Fly-out: Implications for Community Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(5), pages 1-21, April.
    2. Tilton, John E., 2001. "Labor productivity, costs, and mine survival during a recession," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 107-117, June.
    3. Suopajärvi, Leena & Poelzer, Gregory A. & Ejdemo, Thomas & Klyuchnikova, Elena & Korchak, Elena & Nygaard, Vigdis, 2016. "Social sustainability in northern mining communities: A study of the European North and Northwest Russia," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 61-68.
    4. Badera, Jarosław & Kocoń, Paweł, 2014. "Local community opinions regarding the socio-environmental aspects of lignite surface mining: Experiences from central Poland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 507-516.
    5. Tiainen, Heidi & Sairinen, Rauno & Novikov, Viktor, 2014. "Mining in the Chatkal Valley in Kyrgyzstan—Challenge of social sustainability," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 80-87.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph Horrocks-Taylor, 2018. "Dirty Water, Muddied Politics: Hybridisation of Local and National Opposition to Kumtor Mine, Kyrgyzstan," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-18, April.
    2. Valente José Matlaba & Maria Cristina Maneschy & Jorge Filipe dos Santos & José Aroudo Mota, 2019. "Socioeconomic dynamics of a mining town in Amazon: a case study from Canaã dos Carajás, Brazil," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 32(1), pages 75-90, April.
    3. Sonja Kivinen & Kaarina Vartiainen & Timo Kumpula, 2018. "People and Post-Mining Environments: PPGIS Mapping of Landscape Values, Knowledge Needs, and Future Perspectives in Northern Finland," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(4), pages 1-23, December.

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