Professor John Owen

Professorial Research Fellow

Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining
Sustainable Minerals Institute
+61 7 334 64085


John’s research interests span involuntary land acquisition and resettlement, livelihoods and food security, community-based conflict, and the role of corporate and organisational culture on social performance and mining impacts.

Professor Owen’s current program of research is concerned with building a foundational knowledge base on resettlement and livelihood displacement in the mining and resource sectors. John is active in promoting the development and use of social data technologies as a means for improving due diligence processes surrounding mining and mine-related activities.

John Owen is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI).

John is an editorial board member for Resources Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management and The Extractives Industries and Society. He is also a member of the Society of Business Ethics, the Project Management Institute, and the International Association for Business and Society.

Research Interests

  • Mining Induced Displacement and Resettlement
    Issues, causes and effects associated with displacement and resettlement in the global mining industry.
  • Social performance and environmental management
    The function and practices involved in managing the social impacts and risks attached to resource development
  • Industrial ecology and life-cycle assessment
    The place of "social" processes, systems, risks and events within mining complexes.

Research Impacts

John’s work on mining induced displacement is supported by over a decade of community-level practice and policy development in the area of forced migration and resettlement with refugee communities in Australia. He has served as an advisor to companies, lenders, governments, NGOs and bilateral agencies on resettlement issues stemming from conflict, natural disasters and resource development. John’s project work has involved providing both short and longer term strategic advice and support to companies such as BHP, Anglo American, Newcrest, Xstrata, Newmont, MMG, and Teck; and in addition, has lead or supported projects in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, South Africa, Ghana, and Peru.


John is a lead investigator on a large UQ-Industry funded research collaboration which is actively developing resources to improve research, policy and practice outcomes in the area of mining and resettlement. The UQ-Industry Mining and Resettlement Consortium collaborates with researchers from the University of Nottingham and the University of Surrey, in addition to senior industry professionals from Rio Tinto, Newmont, Newcrest, Anglo American, MMG and Barrick.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New England


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Long Term research project looking at patterns in the formation and management of riots.

View all Available Projects



Book Chapter

  • Owen, John R. and Kemp, Deanna (2018). Protecting against impoverishment risks in the mining industry. Challenging the prevailing paradigm of displacement and resettlement. (pp. 57-74) edited by Michael M. Cernea and Julie K. Maldonado. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315163062-3

  • Kemp, Deanna, Owen, John R. and Harris, Jill (2018). Social incident investigation in mining: thinking outside the fence. Extracting innovations: mining, energy, and technological change in the digital age. (pp. 275-286) edited by Martin J. Clifford, Robert K. Perrons, Saleem H. Ali and Tim A. Grice. Boca Raton, FL, United States: CRC Press.

  • Kemp, Deanna, Owen, John and Dejvongsa, Vimala (2015). Operational intent and development impact in mining. Development-oriented corporate social responsibility. Volume 1, Multinational corporations and the global context. (pp. 49-61) edited by Dima Jamali, Charlotte Karam and Michael Blowfield. Sheffield, Unied Kingdom: Greenleaf Publishing. doi: 10.4324/9781351285568

  • Kemp, Deanna and Owen, John (2015). Social Science and the Mining Sector: Contemporary Roles and Dilemmas for Engagement. Making a difference? : social assessment policy and praxis and its emergence in China. (pp. 60-83) edited by Susanna Price and Kathryn May Robinson. New York, NY United States: Berghahn Books.

  • Kemp, Deanna and Owen, John R. (2015). Social science and the mining sector: contemporary roles and dilemmas for engagement. Making a difference?: social assessment policy and praxis and its emergence in China. (pp. 60-82) edited by Susanna Price and Kathryn Robinson. New York, NY, United States: Berghahn Books.

  • Kemp, Deanna and Owen, John (2015). The reality of remedy in mining and community relations: an anonymous case-study from Southeast Asia. Business and human rights in South East Asia: risk and the regulatory turn. (pp. 239-258) edited by Mahdev Mohan and Cynthia Morel. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Karger, Howard, Owen, John and van de Graaff, Shashi (2014). Governance and disaster management: the governmental and community response to Hurricane Katrina and the Victorian bushfires. Governance, Development, and Social Work. (pp. 143-161) edited by Chathapuram S Ramanathan and Subhabrata Dutta. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203796009

  • Owen, John R. and Khavapour, Freidoon (2008). Writing from the coalface: Introducing the narrative of practice. Voices from the coalface: Practioners perspectives about the nature and challenges of community-based work. (pp. x-x) edited by John R. Owen and Freidoon Khavarpour. Altona, Vic., Australia: Common Ground.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Long Term research project looking at patterns in the formation and management of riots.