Nick Bainton's picture

Nick Bainton

Visiting Fellow, Associate Professor, The University of Queensland


PhD (Anthropology, 2007, The University of Melbourne) BA Hons (First Class, Anthropology, 2003, The University of Adelaide)

Contact details

Phone: +61 409699713

Room: Crawford 1.97

Nick is an Associate Professor at The University of Queensland, in the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining.

He is an anthropologist and internationally renowned specialist in the field of large-scale resource extraction in Papua New Guinea and the broader Pacific region.

He has over 15 years of research leadership spanning academic and applied fields, leading large inter-disciplinary teams in complex settings. He has conducted many years of fieldwork and published extensively on the social, political, economic, cultural and human rights impacts of extraction.

Nick’s current program of research is focussed on one of the greatest governance challenges of our time: the impacts of supplying the raw materials needed for global energy transitions.

He is currently collaborating with scholars from the Pacific, UK, and Europe to investigate the ‘double exposure’ to climate change and extractive capitalism in the Pacific region.

This research looks at the consequences of extracting more natural resources from the Pacific under conditions of climate change. It analyses the contradictions and justice dimensions of supplying raw materials from the Pacific (already acutely exposed to climate impacts) to support global energy transitions designed to address runaway climate change.

He is frequently sought out to provide advice to government agencies, communities, and the private sector on the social aspects of extraction in the Pacific and Australia. Most recently, he has been engaged to provide specialist advice on the human rights legacy impact assessment for the abandoned Panguna copper mine on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, which was also the site of a costly civil war.
He has wide experience teaching anthropology at all levels, post graduate supervision, mentoring junior scholars and practitioners, and conducting masterclasses in applied anthropological methods, social impact assessment, and development studies.

Nick’s career has spanned academia and the private sector. Prior to joining UQ, he spent 7 years working in the mining industry as a senior social performance manager. As a result of this experience, his critical scholarship and applied work on the impacts of extraction is informed by a unique insider knowledge of the industry, and the interface between companies, governments, and communities.

Research interests

• Anthropology of mining and extraction

• Political ecology

• Papua New Guinea (society, politics, economy)

• Melanesia (society, politics, economy)

• Cultural heritage management

• Climate change (Pacific impacts and responses)

• Global energy transitions

• Just transitions

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