The Will to Drill. Revisiting Arctic Communities

Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


This book has investigated current and future mining projects in several communities in three arctic countries: Norway, Greenland and (Northwest) Russia. Complex processes related to planning and operating arctic mines are taking place at a time when low-carbon transitions are at the top of the political agenda. While there’s a need for minerals in the transition to renewable energy – which means that mining could be seen as a necessary activity for global sustainable development – mining operations also challenge environmental, social and economic sustainability where they take place. Local and national environmental activists have applied the term ‘sacrifice zones’ to describe particular areas heavily (and negatively) influenced by the consequences of excessive mining, including landscape encroachments and pollution of ecosystems. The “will to drill” in arctic communities, as described and analyzed in this book, is intriguing in that it reveals multiple ways of interpreting sustainability in relation to mining. In this final chapter we elaborate upon the cases described in the earlier chapters. We consider how particular narratives might explain the way that trade-offs are made between developments that are considered sustainable and notions of sacrifice at the local level. These explanations include ways that legitimacy is secured (or not secured) through the use of scientific knowledge and other knowledge traditions, and how such knowledge, if used successfully, can provide legitimacy for both supporters and opponents of mining. The chapter also identifies knowledge gaps and unanswered questions that point towards a future political and academic mining agenda – in the Arctic and for the extractive industries as a whole.


Sustainable development Mining Arctic Legitimacy Sacrifice zones Knowledge based management regimes 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nordland Research InstituteBodøNorway
  2. 2.Faculty of Social ScienceNord UniversityBodøNorway

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