Sacred land, mineral wealth, and biodiversity at Coronation Hill, Northern Australia : Indigenous knowledge and SIA
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This paper is concerned with the role of social impact assessment (SIA) in the resolution of an environmental conflict involving demands for the conservation of an ecologically significant area, a proposal to exploit mineral wealth, and the concerns of indigenous custodians who feared damage to sacred lands. This is a case in which the knowledge claims of key protagonists were deeply politicized and contested, and in which the process of decision-making was itself the subject of controversy and debate. The paper reviews the case, emphasizing the roles of western and indigenous epistemologies in decision-making. It presents an approach to SIA that addresses these epistemological issues and ensures the articulation of indigenous knowledge to governmental decision-makers.
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal
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