Resource Development Conflict: A Study in Worldviews

By Murray Lytle and Michael Hitch.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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With the increasing occurrence of resource development conflict, it is important to understand the bases of the conflicts at a level that is deep enough to afford opportunities for resolution which satisfy the antagonist’s concerns. The investment risk to development company shareholders and the opportunity cost to the landowners in the resource development area will only escalate in the absence of this new approach. This paper defines worldview and demonstrates that it has a significant impact on civilizational development. The dominance of Western civilization as a generator of creativity is explored and the role of mining resource development in the formation of those creative societies is demonstrated. A review of western philosophical thought undergirds a survey of literature on economic and social sustainability demonstrating that there are a number of “solitudes” which mirror the underlying worldviews. The hypothesis of this paper is that the point of actual resource development conflict is increasingly found at the deeper level of worldview differences between the antagonists to the conflict and less so at the shallower level of the stated objections. The concept of “worldview” is introduced as a means of synthesizing the deep-seated motives for different actors to take different positions about a particular resource development proposal.

Keywords: Resource, Conflict, Worldview, Philosophy, Confrontation, Understanding

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.133-143. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 426.118KB).

Dr. Murray Lytle

Divisional Manager, Mining Division, Snowden Mining Industry Consultants Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Murray Lytle is a resource professional with 35 years of experience, 8 of which were in Latin America, who has worked in both mining, oil and gas developments in Canada, Colombia, and Peru. He built and now manages the Calgary office of Snowden Mining Industry Consultants Inc. His abiding interest in history and philosophy has resulted in a published book on the philosophical foundations of the American Civil War. It has also led to his enrollment in the Ph.D. program at the Norman B. Keevil School of Mining at the University of British Columbia in order to research current third world resource development in the context of the history of Western civilization, with a view to demonstrating how this development is affected by the underlying worldviews of those who are in conflict.

Prof. Michael Hitch

Assistant Professor, Norman B. Keevil School of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

In his more than 20 year career in the mining industry, Dr. Hitch has traveled to over 150 countries to review, value, and consult on mining projects. He has seen the good, bad, and ugly of mine development and it is this experience which motivates his belief in the necessity and possibility of designing, building and operating mines in harmony with the local community, and providing them with the opportunity to pursue sustainable communities and livelihoods. This belief forms the basis of his research interests: sustainable mining and mine design from the project feasibility stage. Such sustainability is as much a mindset as it is constructed out of steel and concrete. Social license, environmental assessment, and legally mandated agreements are there to serve engineers and to provide them with the opportunity to contribute to society in a positive way.