A07
Techno-scientific expertise and geographical imaginaries in the making of new resource frontiers

Convenors:
Paul Gilbert (University of Sussex)
Alena Bleicher (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ)
Discussant:
Nigel Clark (Lancaster University)
Format:
Location:
Bowland North Seminar Room 2
Start time:
26 July, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This panel invites contributions from scholars investigating the role that technical experts (e.g. geologists, chemical engineers, metallurgists, valuation consultants) and technologies play in opening up new frontiers for mineral extraction in the 'anthroposphere' and beyond.

Long abstract:

Despite a burgeoning STS literature on resource materialities, little attention has been given to the new alliances of expertise, materialities, and infrastructures that enable extractive projects to be developed within the 'anthroposphere' or otherwise beyond conventional terrestrial geographies of natural resource extraction. From the 'emerging marketplace' created by advances in deep sea mining or secondary mining technologies, to the valorization of certain minerals and rare earths as 'critical' to national security, and the speculative opportunities generated by the prospect of asteroid mining - the generation of new mining frontiers is increasingly dependent upon the successful convergence of techno-scientific expertise, financial infrastructures and expansive geo-political imaginaries. This panel invites contributions from scholars investigating the role that technical experts (e.g. geologists, chemical engineers, metallurgists, valuation consultants) and technologies play in opening up new frontiers for mineral extraction, and which address the following: How are forms of expertise related to mineral extraction shaped by the financial concerns of extractive industry corporations and their investors? What relationships between academia and industry shape innovations in extractive technologies? How do expertise and technology influence the visibility of new repositories? What ethical narratives do geologists and other experts craft around their professional involvement in the opening up of resource frontiers? What roles do concepts such as 'criticality' or 'supply risk' play in research policy the production of new extractive frontiers? How are 'local' stakeholders and their concerns re-configured by extractive technologies with novel geographical reach (e.g. deep sea mining)?