Wooden towers and iron cable and cable cars above the Spitsbergen town of Longyearbyen. Photo credit: AG-ChapelHill / Getty Images .

REXSAC studies extractive resource industries in the Arctic as cultural, social, economic, and ecological phenomena – from analysis of why resource extraction commences, to what consequences it has for communities in the Arctic and beyond, and what opportunities exist for transitioning toward post-extractive futures. The centre engages an international network of scholars from across the humanities, natural and social sciences. Community participation in environmental and social monitoring is also a central part of the REXSAC.

Mining has shaped social development in many parts of the Arctic and also often had major impacts on local environments. REXSAC includes case studies in Sweden, Greenland and on Svalbard in order to understand how lessons from the past can inform decision-making today. The research network extends beyond the Nordic countries, with explicit ambitions to compare Arctic experiences with other parts of the world and to understand Arctic mining and resource extraction in a global context.

The REXSAC short film highlights how mineral extraction systems combined with other societal activities and climate change exert pressures on ecosystems, local- and traditional livelihoods in the Arctic: Kiruna, Sweden and Kolari, Finland. Local and regional voices (land users, planners, mining industry, business interests) are featured to highlight the complexity of this issue. Read our blog post on the film.

REXSAC is one of four new Nordic Centres of Excellence in Arctic research under the programme Nordforsk program Responsible Development of the Arctic: Opportunities and Challenges – Pathways to Action, with funding 2016-2020. REXSAC includes opportunities for PhD training, as well as seminars and workshops that will be announced late spring of 2016.

REXSAC is organized as a consortium with thirteen partners as well as affiliated individual scholars from in a range of institutions across the Nordic countries and other parts of the world.

REXSAC is led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in collaboration with Stockholm University and Stockholm Environment Institute as core collaborating institutions. The other partners are Stefansson Arctic Institute, Akureyri (IL), University of Copenhagen (DK), National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen (DK), Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, NIKU (NO), University of Oslo (NO), Greenland Institute for Natural Resources (GD), University of Oulu (FI), Dalarna University College (SE), Swedish Agricultural University (SLU), Umeå (SE), and Memorial University Newfoundland, Canada.