Australian Political Studies Association Conference, Sydney 2023: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Australia’s Security Narrative in the Context of the Emergence of Deep Sea Mining in the PacificWritten on October 8th, 2023 by Pascale Hatcher and Sian Troath
Australian Political Studies Association Conference (27-30 November 2023, University of Sydney “Emerging from Crisis into Complexity”) Dr Pascale Hatcher and Dr Sian Troath will be presenting the paper “A Critical Discourse Analysis of Australia’s Security Narrative in the Context of the Emergence of Deep Sea Mining in the Pacific”
Abstract: While commercial large-scale deep seabed mining (DSM) activities are yet to begin, the economic promises of the sector have already triggered a scramble for the ‘new frontier of mining’, with interests driven by the green transition – the deep sea is rich in the minerals needed for electric cars and wind turbines. These prospects are enticing for some of the world’s smallest nations as the seabed of the South Pacific boasts the world’s most substantial reserves of high-value minerals. To complicate matters, debates over DSM are
taking place in the context of a contested security environment, which includes a deepening focus on critical minerals. Building on digital methods to gather and analyse datasets of public texts, as well as insights from international political economy, the paper collates narratives to assess how the impending mining boom is shaping Australia’s security narratives in the Pacific region and in turn, its ramification for the Pacific Island Countries (PICs). We argue that DSM debates will feed tensions between Australia’s ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept which focuses on geopolitical security vs the PICs’ ‘Blue Pacific’ approach to security in the region.