• Social Indicators for Arctic Mining

      Haley, Sharman; Szymoniak, Nick; Klick, Matthew; Crow, Andrew; Schwoerer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-05)
      This paper reviews and assesses the state of the data to describe and monitor mining trends in the pan-Arctic. It constructs a mining index and discusses its value as a social impact indicator and discusses drivers of change in Arctic mining. The widely available measures of mineral production and value are poor proxies for economic effects on Arctic communities. Trends in mining activity can be characterized as stasis or decline in mature regions of the Arctic, with strong growth in the frontier regions. World prices and the availability of large, undiscovered and untapped resources with favorable access and low political risk are the biggest drivers for Arctic mining, while climate change is a minor and locally variable factor. Historical data on mineral production and value is unavailable in electronic format for much of the Arctic, specifically Scandinavia and Russia; completing the historical record back to 1980 will require work with paper archives. The most critically needed improvement in data collection and reporting is to develop comparable measures of employment: the eight Arctic countries each use different definitions of employment, and different methodologies to collect the data. Furthermore, many countries do not report employment by county and industry, so the Arctic share of mining employment cannot be identified. More work needs to be done to develop indicator measures for ecosystem service flows. More work also needs to be done developing conceptual models of effects of mining activities on fate control, cultural continuity and ties to nature for local Arctic communities.