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Human resources issues in Arctic industries

Dr. Kara Arnold (right) during the Faculty of Business Administration's Human Resources Issues in Extractive Industries course. Karen Roche photo


By Moira Finn

The human face of mining, forestry and energy development in the Arctic was the focus of a PhD-level course hosted by the Faculty of Business Administration recently.

Human Resources Issues in Extractive Industries brought together researchers, experts and students from Finland and Scandinavia with Memorial's Faculty of Business Administration and the Department of Geography to examine the academic and practical implications of major resource development from a human resources perspective.

With growing demand for natural resources and advances in technology making development in remote regions more viable, this week-long, interdisciplinary course looked at the impact of resource development on people and communities, for regional development and Aboriginal peoples – areas that are also among Memorial's strategic research themes.

"The economic benefits and environmental implications of major resource developments are the issues that grab the headlines, but there are very significant and enduring human, social and cultural impacts that warrant evaluation as well," explained Dr. Kara Arnold, the Faculty of Business Administration's associate dean, research. "This program provides a valuable opportunity to learn from the experiences of other regions of the world facing similar natural resource development opportunities and we look forward to continuing the collaboration."

The Arctic extractive industries series is a part of a University of the Arctic program – a collation of universities of the circumpolar north – examining the impact of resource development in the harsh yet vulnerable regions of the North. It follows on from Issues of Sustainability and Resource Management in the Arctic, held in March 2011 in Bodo/Svolvaer, Norway. Organizers are planning another course to be delivered in Europe in June 2013.