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


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Available Projects

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

View all Available Projects



Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • 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.