Encountering ‘Sainaman’: Friction and Friendship at a PNG Mining Project

A Ramu Nickel landowner family pose outside their home.

Event details

SSGM Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 24 November 2022


Lecture Theatre 2 (HB2), Hedley Bull Building 130, corner of Garran Road adn Liversidge Street, ANU


Shaun Gessler



Please note: This is a hybrid event and will also be available on Zoom.

Speaker: Shaun Gessler, PhD Candidate, DPA

What does China’s increasing economic engagement in the Pacific mean for Pacific Island communities? Shaun Gessler’s anthropology thesis investigates the relationship between the Chinese majority-run Ramu Nickel Cobalt project – China’s largest investment in the Pacific to date – and the indigenous communities on whose land the project is located.

Join Shaun Gessler as he presents his doctoral thesis findings. This thesis explores how long-standing local expectations for wealth and modernity from the mine are articulated by landowners, and the degrees of cultural ‘friction’ faced by landowners while interacting with Chinese expatriate mine workers. But despite these challenges, there is also evidence of friendships emerging between grassroots Papua New Guineans and Chinese expatriates.

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