Arctic Yearbook 2015
there has been a large growth in the mining sector over the recent decade. The Russian Arctic already
has well-established industries, such as oil and gas production, mining and ore processing which are
concentrated in these areas (Fundamentals… 2008; Development Strategy … 2013).
Mining, as with oil and gas and other natural resource developments, has the potential to not only
spur economic development and create new wealth, but also to harm the environment and irrevocably
shape the social dynamics of Arctic communities and indigenous ways of life (Affolder 2011: 526−527;
Haley et al. 2011). Mining development in the Arctic can be further complicated by its extreme climate,
remote locations, lack of infrastructure as well as limited labor supply.
There is also a real concern related to socio-economic impacts of mining in these regions, where new
development could negatively impact the already established informal economy, consisting primarily
of subsistence hunting, fishing, and herding, which are a crucial cultural component, and are essential
to the quality of life of local inhabitants (AHDR 2004). As a result of the many drawbacks and negative
impacts shown to be connected to mining, there has been growing discussion of the sustainability,
responsibility and acceptance of mining, together with changes in how these issues can be governed
and evaluated (e.g. Azapagic 2004; Whitmore 2006).