‘Helicopter’ researchers - issues with research being conducted on mining impact in North Western Province Zambia

Crawford School of Public Policy | Resources, Environment and Development Group

Event details

RE&D Research Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 22 May 2014


Weston Theatre, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crosssing, ANU


Margaret O’Callaghan, Visiting Fellow, Resources, Environment and Development Group, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.


Keith Barney
6125 4957

In this seminar Margaret O’Callaghan will discuss her research on documenting the socio-economic impact of Zambia’s North Western(NW) Province mining boom during its first decade. She identifies a number of issues, one being the nature of research which has and is currently been undertaken by international and national academics, postgraduate students, NGOs and INGOs, international agencies, and in a slightly different category, national and international consultants for mining companies. There has been a ‘boom’ in studies as NW Province has suddenly become the flavour of the month for researchers. Margaret will discuss those aspects of recent research which she has identified to be problematic, including the lack of coordination, inadequate preparation and self-selection of subject matter. She will also explain how the issue of ‘stakeholder fatigue’ has arisen. Margaret will discuss the issues from a development angle, seeking views on how to ensure people of the NW benefit and are not used as ‘guinea pigs’. She will also explore how mining companies can give due recognition to the ‘corporate social responsibility’ challenges they face. She will also briefly explain why the NW Province is not the ‘New Copperbelt’ – a term liberally used by the media and other researchers which fails to take into account the differences and is quite misleading.

Margaret O’Callaghan formerly worked for AusAID and the United Nations Population Fund, the latter in PNG and in Zambia. She has also undertaken consultancies in the Pacific and researched ‘Cape to Cairo’ journeys. During her time in Zambia she led a program which focussed on the NW province so is very familiar with the area and she experienced the beginnings of the current mining boom which commenced around 2002. She is currently a Visiting Fellow in Resources, Environment and Development in Crawford School and an Affiliate of the Southern African Institute of Policy and Research, Lusaka.

This seminar is presented by the Resources, Environment and Development Group at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

Updated:  30 May 2020/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team