Extractive entanglements and regimes of accountability at an undeveloped mining project

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This paper uses a case study of Community Relations and Development (CRD) field practitioners at the Frieda River Project – an advanced copper and gold exploration venture in the upper Sepik region of Papua New Guinea – to contrast the professional arenas in which corporate social responsibility (CSR) mechanisms tend to be strategically developed, and the deeply relational contexts in which they are implemented on the ground, in the project location. It provides insights into experiences of site-level CRD personnel tasked with implementation of community relations and development programmes, and offers an audit of their perceptions regarding their role and the value they bring to the design of complex orebody projects. The article explores the role of ‘CSR’ and ‘sustainable development’ in the framing of the company's engagement with local stakeholders – assessed from the perspective of CRD officers. Contextualising research material within debates about CSR in the resource extraction industry, the paper shows that while the discourse of CSR was ultimately born out of acknowledgements of companies' entanglements in their wider operating environments, its mechanisms can be used to promote the ethics of detachment, and may serve to distance companies from the complexities of the environments in which they operate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101815
Number of pages9
JournalResources Policy
Early online date21 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Copper
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Community relations and development
  • Mineral governance


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