Big Sacrifices for Little People

I have enormous respect for people who devote large chunks of their life to doing good. People who sacrifice their comforts and their own quality of life to improve the lives of others. You know the ones I mean. They have halos. Shimmering eighteen-carat gold ones. They make the rest of us look bad. We […]


FPIC: 50 Shades of Consent

Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC, or effpic in verbal shorthand) is a genuinely admirable concept. FPIC proposes that if a corporation or government entity wishes to undertake an activity that requires consultation, it should undertake that activity only after FPIC is granted. That is, consent is given willingly, with all the relevant information provided to […]

artisianal mining

Artisanal Mining: The Extinction of the Minor Miner

Long before technology allowed us to extract minerals at scale, there were miners with pickaxes and shovels. They picked and prodded at ore bodies, pulled out lumps of metal that could be teased out of the rock, and coaxed them, by heat and chemistry, to form metal implements and coins. Today they are known as […]

prostitution in development projects

Development Projects and Camps of Prostitution

Every Friday afternoon, around 3pm, a small troop of caravans would trundle up the dusty road to a ridgetop above our construction camp and park there. By 4pm, many of my employees would be queuing up, sitting on cooler boxes filled with cold beer, to pay their money and spend some time with one of […]

corporate land access

Land Access Culture: “I Want Your Land. Please.”

When I think about how to approach farmers or traditional landholders for access to their land – for exploration, for testing, for construction, for development, for pipelines, infrastructure, roads, rail – I place a simple image in the front of my mind. I imagine that we are talking not about land, but about the children […]