Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
A sand-colored meshwork of roads, covers the 40-year-old infrastructure of the quartzite quarry, at Austertana, Finnmark, Norway. Recently purchased by Chinese investors, the mining company Elkem has proposed a massive expansion of the quarry. The expansion and its associated infrastructure is expected to interrupt numerous relations and routes, such as those of migratory birds in the nature reserve, reindeer on their way to winter pasture, and salmon smolt following the current of the Deatnu river on their perilous journey to sea. But there are also other interruptions. Known as Giemaš amongst Sámi speakers, the mountain is the site of uncanny powers, manifesting as unexpected accidents. Refusing the expansion will cause interruptions too, for a dozen employees facing the prospect that the operations shut down.
In this paper, I explore the multiple realities and ‘faces’ of the mountain, that are emergent or conjured as the future of Giemaš is negotiated and reconfigured. I am attentive to the powerful presence of that which is made absent, and the affective dimensions that such presences/absences engender. Juxtaposing these as interruptions, I explore how the planned expansion evokes the site as 'mountain but not-only', and how the controversy is also an occasion for mustering various manifestation of the real.