Dr Corinne Unger

Research Fellow

School of Business
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
c.unger@business.uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 31242

Overview

Corinne is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the UQ Business School having completed her PhD in the management discipline in 2021. She is currently conducting research on terrorism and climate-induced disaster resilience to inform the management of reinsurance pools for these perils. This research applies her PhD research where she explained insidious risk management (IRM): how groups of people within (and beyond) organisations manage slow growing, inconspicuous risks that are potentially catastrophic. Corinne's recent turn toward social science complements her earlier earth sciences industry, governement and consulting experience. Abandoned mines demonstrate failure of IRM and Corinne's interest in how to mitigate them and regenerate these sites to sustainable uses drew her to managing abandoned mines in Queensland. Her understanding of how success stories evolved expanded when she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2009. That research enabled her to learn from global leading practice abandoned mine rehabilitation and post-mining uses in Austria, Germany, England and Canada. Corinne is currently on the Board of the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority (Victoria) and is a voluntary Convenor/Project lead for a working group developing an international (ISO) standard on Managing Mining Legacies.

Research Interests

  • Risk Management
    Insidious risks are slow growing inconspicuous risks, socially constructed by networks of people interacting with objects. These risks can grow unseen to become potentially catastrophic. In a mining context, Corinne examined how the insidious risks of land disturbance and mine affected water are managed. This research made visible what was previously hidden so that an audit of organisational activities can detect a catastrophe in the making.
  • Practice theory
    Corinne applied Schatzki's practice theory to the social phenomenon of insidious risk management and continues to developed her social science expertise by applying practice and process perspectives in strategy research. Practice theory enables the complexity of social phenomena, and their dynamic and evolving nature to be captured and understood, thereby equipping managers with a means of intervening constructively and strategically.
  • Abandoned /legacy mine management
    There are estimated to be in excess of 50,000 abandoned mines in Australia from very small to large polluting sites with more than $2 billion in liability from these legacies in QLD and NT alone. Building upon Corinne's Churchill Fellowship research and experience as an abandoned mine manager for the Queensland government she with colleagues at the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation developed a jurisdictional maturity model. This model provides guidance on how to successfully manage mining legacies, thus providing an implementation tool for Australia's national policy for managing abandoned mines.
  • Mine rehabilitation and closure
    Effective life-of-mine planning ensures there is a vision that is being implemented to achieve the post-mining landscape which is safe, stable, non-polluting and has sustainable land uses. Stakeholder participation is essential if the social connections to, and local knowledge about, mines are to be understood and incorporated into rehabilitation and closure. When regulatory requirements address only the biophysical aspects of transitioning through closure, the social dimensions are overlooked.
  • Beneficial post-mining land use
    Many opportunities exist in Australia for environmental and socio-economic regeneration after mining. Mining heritage conservation and its adaptive re-use have rejuvenated communities in Cornwall England and former East Germany when integrated with regenerative planning. The value of some mines in Australia have been extended via secondary mining or tourism uses, while indigenous reconciliation needs to be at the heart of mine rehabilitation and transition where mines did not have free prior and informed consent from the start, such as at the Rum Jungle legacy mine.

Research Impacts

Corinne's research developed the phenomenon of insidious risk management that explains and integrates past risk management research of particular features of this type of inconspicuous and slow growing risk, formerly studied as latent, crescive, creeping, incubating and slow-developing catastrophic risk. Her doctoral research makes the less visible, visible and provides a means of detecting a catastrophe in the making so it can be intervened upon, in preference to only learning of the related activities and participants through formal inquiries that retrospectively analyse catastrophes.

Prior research reveals the dynamic and evolving practice of mine rehabilitation and closure over 40 years in Australia. Corinne's research shows how the practice is shaped by those within the organisation together with external stakeholders. Her retrosepective study also informed the Senate inquiry into 'Rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities' (2019). Unger, C. J., Everingham, J., & Bond, C. J. (2020). Transition or transformation: shifting priorities and stakeholders in Australian mined land rehabilitation and closure. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 1-30. doi:10.1080/14486563.2020.1719440

Corinne's Churchill Fellowship research provides guidance on leading practice abandoned mine rehabilitation and post-mining land use that can be applied in Australia. With colleagues Lechner, Kenway, Glenn and Walton at the CMLR at UQ in 2015 Corinne developed a Jurisdictional maturity model for risk management accountability and continual improvement of abandoned mine remediation programs. This model provides an implementation framework for Australian governments to apply Australia's Strategic Framework for managing abandoned mines.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Diploma in Education, Macquarie University
  • Diploma in Geoscience, Macquarie University
  • Bachelor of Science, Macquarie University

Publications

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Publications

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Edited Outputs

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Grants (Administered at UQ)