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Project Scope

Our multi-perspectival approach to understanding the socio-political landscape and drivers and interactions of stakeholders focused on the Carmichael Coal Mine as an empirical exemplar of a mine with complex stakeholder interactions.

In line with the aims, our research questions focused on understanding stakeholder perceptions of:

  • the key drivers as to why this case was considered to be contentious,

  • the interactions amongst diverse stakeholders, and importantly,

  • what might constitute good mining.


Stage 1 involved substantive desktop identification, collation and analysis of public documents, submissions, and news & social media, to identify social and political drivers of key mining stakeholder groups involved in debate around the mine. 

Stage 2 centred on the conduct and analysis of 42 semi-structured interviews with identified stakeholders active in the Carmichael Coal Mine case.

Stage 3 encompassed the development of tools identified in the research process to distil research learnings and enable nuanced navigation of the social and political environment.

The project delivered a suite of three tools: Interactive Timeline; ANT Stakeholder Action Mapping Tool; and the PREDICT Principles of Good Mining.

Project team members: A/Prof Robyn Mayes, Dr Bree Hurst, and Dr Amelia Hine.

Project Outcomes & Learnings

Analysis across Stages 1 and 2 demonstrated:


  • Disruption of business-centric stakeholder engagement, and substantial influence on the part of stakeholders that were not initially identified by the company.

  • A dynamic hierarchy of stakeholder drivers in terms of influence and emphasis, and divergences at the regional, state and national levels.

  • Limitations associated with the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process play a key role in shaping debate around mining operation.

  • There is growing polarisation of stakeholders, and limited communication across ideological divides.

  • A strong perception of the role of public media in shaping (mis)understandings of mining operations.

Good mining - as perceived across the spectrum of stakeholder interviewed - encompasses an interconnected and dynamic set of best practices involving both industry and government spanning:


  • Increased transparency and trust;

  • Improved engagement;

  • Accessible information; and

  • Processes/spaces to facilitate conversations among stakeholders with who may not recognise shared values.


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