Synthetic Lives:
Mining Futures

Alongside decarbonization and electrification efforts, the global extractive industry is undergoing three critical transformations: first, the advent of biomining and lab-grown minerals, impacting the role of nature in extractive processes; second, the creation of fully automated mining operations, rendering human work redundant or accessory to that of bots, drones, and other autonomous machines; third, the introduction of digital data and disintermediation technologies, reshaping management and traceability practices. Taken together, these innovations anticipate a future of mining that harnesses nature while replacing it with synthetic substances, human labor with intelligent machines, and intermediaries with unmediated accountability.
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Green extractivism' and global commodity chains: writing workshop in Trondheim, Norway (September 21-October 1, 2023)

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Research Team

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Filipe Calvão
Principal Investigator

Filipe Calvão is an economic and environmental anthropologist (PhD, University of Chicago), broadly interested in the intersection between nature, culture, and capital in postcolonial Africa. See more +

Simon Lobach
PhD Researcher

Simon Lobach is a PhD candidate in International History. With an academic background in History, Latin American Studies and International Affairs, he has several years of professional experience in international environmental cooperation. See More ++

Rivana Cerullo
Project Management

Rivana Cerullo works in management and communication on the Synthetic Lives project.
She has multiple years of experience working in project management and communication, such as on Swiss National Science Foundation projects or NGO mandated research. See More ++

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Matthew Archer
Affiliated Researcher

Matthew Archer is an assistant professor of sustainability in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. His research examines the intersection of corporate sustainability, sustainable finance, and sustainable development, with a particular interest in questions of supply chain governance. See More ++


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