Welcome to the unit Project

By now, you should have acquired substantial knowledge about the diverse range of natural resources and their significance in contemporary society. We have delved into sustainable approaches to engage with these resources. Your ability to assess the impact of natural resource projects in different countries and understanding their potential advantages and disadvantages for both the environment and local communities, should be well-developed.

The insights gained from the initial three chapters should enhance your understanding not only of how to interact with nature but also of how to effectively engage with individuals whose futures are intertwined with a thriving ecosystem. Recognizing and respecting the needs and preferences of local communities are crucial for establishing enduring relationships, fostering strong connections, and building sustainable partnerships.

Furthermore, your expertise in the geology of metallic ore deposits, water, soil, and land use positions you advantageously in comprehending how to interact with diverse natural resources while ensuring their secure extraction. When engaging with these resources, you’ll consistently be mindful of potential adverse effects, such as pollution, that could impact the environment and its inhabitants.

Your proficiency across these facets positions makes you an expert in the sustainable interaction with natural resources. Consequently, you will apply this knowledge in a final project.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

In this unit, you will be able to:

  • effectively solve conflicts and come to a conclusion where all parties are satisied.
  • Apply all the sklills you’ve learned so far in this course to a solve a realistic problem.
  • find creative ideas on finding your own approaches to handle ressources in a sustainable way.
  • find a way to include local societies in your projects to achieve a long lasting connection.

Project: Mining rare earth elements (REE) in Australia   

You are the CEO of a mining company, which is specialized in the extraction of rare earth elements (REE). As REE are crucial for achieving the energy transition, the goal of your company is to extract these desperately needed commodities as sustainable as possible.

Your senior exploration geologist has informed you about several promising REE deposit prospects located in western Australia. Unfortunately the majority of them are located on lands which are exclusively in the possession of native Australian communities. These native reserves are home of an aboriginal tribe. Members of the tribe have heared rumors about potential mining projects within their territories and see the opening of a mine very critical. They are concerned about the negative impacts these projects could have on their land and ecosystem. They are concerned that REE-mines in this area could potentially pollute the ground water which is a precious ressource in these arid regions and already quite scarce. Not only does the mining project potentially pollute the ground water, but also consume a lot of water what could result in a water conflict with the Aboriginies. A lack of water supply would have drastic impacts on agriculture and livestock farming, not to mention the lack of clean drinking water. Furthermore, the tribes are concerned about what happens to the mine after the exhaustion of the deposit? Will there be just a “hole in the ground” which leaves the landscape of this beautiful native reserve scarred?

Even though the chief of the affected aboriginal tribe has major concerns about your mining project, he is willing to listen to your proposals and arguments. He hopes that you will together find a way how both parties could benefit from a project like this and how the impact on nature can be reduced to a minimum.


Your task will be to write a proposal, which is adressed  to the aboriginal tribe as well as the Government of Western Australia where you will formulate your approach on opening a REE mine in a native aboriginal reserve. In this proposal you will:

  1. Explain what kind of REE-hosting mineral deposits can be found in Western Australia, which important REE can be found and in which abundance. Furthermore you need to briefly explain what these REE can be used for. Use the following website which will help you with these tasks: https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/minerals/mineral-resources-and-advice/australian-resource-reviews/rare-earth-elements
  2. Illustrate how the negative impacts of REE-mines on nature and the local ecosystem can be minimized. Also, you will deal with the concerns raised by the tribe about the scarcity of groundwater, its pollution and other environmental issues.
  3. Come up with a plan on how to intigrate the Aboriginies in your project for a mutual and long lasting benefit for your company and the local community.
  4. Design a recultivation plan where you describe what will happen to the mine after the cessation of the mining project. How do you plan to renaturate the mining area?

Please write 3-5 pages for this project.

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