The historical assembly of Oceania's deep-sea mining frontier

Oliver Lilford, Matthew G. Allen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Drawing upon scholarship on ‘resource-making’ and ‘resource frontiers’, this chapter presents an historical perspective on the place of the Pacific region in the ongoing ‘assembly’ of the global deep-sea mining (DSM) frontier. We use extant scholarly research and extensive grey literature to trace – over three distinct historical periods – the ways in which deep-sea mineral deposits have moved along spatial and temporal continua in the ever liminal and political process of ‘becoming’ resources., While these ontological politics have broadly mapped onto longstanding fault lines in social constructions of the ocean, each successive shift in resource-making efforts has been characterised by marked discursive inflections in how seabed mineral deposits have been constructed by the main actors engaged in struggles over the DSM frontier. We show how these inflections have been shaped not only by shifting political-economic, regulatory, and techno-scientific conditions, but also by the material properties of the mineral deposits themselves, as well as those of the deep-sea environments in which they occur. We conclude that indigenous Pacific ontologies of the ocean are likely to remain of central importance to the fate of the global DSM frontier.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Global Land and Resource Grabbing
    Editors Andreas Neef ORCID Icon, Chanrith Ngin, Tsegaye Moreda, Sharlene Mollett
    Place of PublicationNew York
    ISBN (Print)9780367532024
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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