Nicholas A. Bainton

Nick Bainton received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Melbourne in 2007. From 2007–2010 he was a research fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, The University of Queensland, as part of a research services partnership between The University of Queensland and mine developer Lihir Gold Limited. During this time he collaborated with the Lihirian community and the mine developer on several cultural heritage management projects, and he commenced a research project on the intersection between Lihirian sacred geographies and resource development.

Nick is currently Principal Advisor Social Responsibility for Newcrest Mining Limited. He manages the social impact monitoring and management program and the cultural heritage management program for the Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

Nick is an honorary research fellow with School of Social Sciences, The University of Queensland, and is an adjunct Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, The University of Queensland. His research and publications draw upon his long term association with the Lihir Islands as an academic and applied anthropologist and his broader engagement with the resource extraction industry in Papua New Guinea.


The Lihir Destiny »

Cultural Responses to Mining in Melanesia

Authored by: Nicholas A. Bainton
The people of the Lihir Islands in Papua New Guinea have long held visions of a prosperous new future, often referred to by local leaders as the ‘Lihir Destiny’. When large-scale gold mining activities commenced on the main island of Lihir in 1995, many hoped that this new world had finally arrived. The Lihir Destiny provides a nuanced account of the social structural and cultural transformations engendered by large-scale resource extraction. Tracing the history of Lihirian engagement with outside forces, from the colonial period through to recent mining activities, this book brings new light to bear on the bigger question of what ‘development’ means in contemporary Melanesia. The Lihir Destiny explores how Lihirian leaders devised future plans for a cultural revolution based upon the maximisation of mining activities and the influential philosophies of the Personal Viability movement. However, reaching the ‘Lihir Destiny’ is no simple affair, and many Lihirians find themselves negotiating divergent formulations of culture, sociality and economic engagement. The Lihir Destiny will appeal to readers interested in the social impacts of large-scale resource development, the processes of cultural continuity and change and the ways in which modernity is configured in local terms.