Canadian Mining Abroad: Shaping Social Identities in Latin America

 

Lukas crossroads
Lukas Bosch; Photo by Lukas Bosch

Mr. Lukas Bosch, a 2nd year student in the Master of Arts in Environmental Policy program, considers himself as being “from all over Canada.” He says that having lived in many different provinces has allowed him to learn how diverse the country is and travelling has sparked his passion for Canadian politics, environmental policy, and environmental assessment topics.

Originally from Moncton, NB, Mr. Bosch grew up mostly in Winnipeg, MB, and Regina, SK, adding that he later went to the University of Northern British Columbia, in the remote city of Prince George, where he completed his B.A. in Environmental Studies.

Mr. Bosch’s research interests range from water governance and privatization associated with Canadian mining in the rural Chilean Huasco Valley, to his current research which looks into how Canadian development in Chile has fostered or helped shape activist identities of anti-mining protesters.

“Three quarters of the world’s mining companies are headquartered in Canada, and 50% of Canadian mining assets abroad are situated in Latin America, Chile accounting for 11% of these assets”

Said Mr. Bosch.

In the Winter 2020 semester, he will travel to the capital city of Santiago to attend University Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI), a university in which Memorial University has a partnership, for a 2-week intensive Spanish course before beginning his data collection from local activists. UAI may be able to facilitate a contact person to help orientate him around Chile.

Data collection for his study will be done through ethnographic research tools: talking, listening, and reflecting on the testimonies of the activist participants that Mr. Bosch plans to interview. He will be in Chile for about 5 weeks getting to know local people and gathering data.

After the research is done and his thesis written, Mr. Bosch hopes that his findings can be turned into a scholarly research article. He also hopes that the information can be disseminated through other public venues accessible to the general public to raise awareness on some of the social issues linked to Canadian mining in Chile.

“Living in so many areas of Canada gives you a good appreciation for where you live. I really love my country, which is also interesting that at the same time much of my research is very critical of Canada. But I think it’s important to talk about how contentious Canada can be on a global scale, especially with mining abroad.”

Chilean mines
Mining map in Chile: copper (orange), gold (yellow), other metals (purple), non-metal mines (green), coal and hydrocarbons (black).

Mr. Bosch recently received the TD Graduate Bursary for Environmental Study that will cover almost all of his research expenses in Chile this coming winter. After graduation, he hopes to work in the provincial or federal government policy sectors and then continue with his PhD.

Written by Mayra Sanchez; additional editing by Lukas Bosch.

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