Monthly Archives: July 2014

And here it is:

The legality of mining in Australia hinges on the assumption that many of the environmental impacts of mining will be addressed via adequate rehabilitation once mining ceases. Currently, rehabilitation is viewed as a technical process (albeit with ethical drivers), which can be objectively assessed against primarily ecological and biophysical criteria. Philosophical explorations in the field of restoration ecology, however, recognise that restoration is value laden and that different stakeholders may perceive success of restored landscapes differently given how they value and utilise landscapes (Higgs 1997; Rogers-Martinez 1992). If restoration agendas are driven by social norms then restored landscapes must be viewed as cultural products resultant from particular worldviews (Edgar 2007). But as Kirsch (2001) asks in relation to landscapes transformed by mining; what kind of places are these? How do Aboriginal people make sense of rehabilitated landscapes and rehabilitation processes based on their own ecological and cosmological understandings? Do rehabilitated landscapes address the social, political and spiritual concerns expressed by Aboriginal people whose land has been impacted by mining? To answer these questions involves an analysis of the goals and desires that Aboriginal people hold for their land post mining and the criteria against which they would assess rehabilitated landscapes as meeting these aspirations. This itself requires an analysis of the processes in which elements of a group’s ethnoecology are brought into play within the intercultural and political context of mine-community relationships.