Sandy is a social researcher and communication management specialist. Her research interests encompass multi-actor, multi-level governance of mineral resources and the navigation of knowledge boundaries. Much of her work has been focused on the social risks associated with mine project development, mine closure and the transition of mining regions to post-mining alternatives. A current program of research is centred on First Nations’ governance of mineral resources.

Sandy joined CSRM in 2019 after completing her PhD at the centre. Her doctoral research examined how coal mining project teams in Australia construct and assess social risk.


Through her research projects, Sandy works with a range of resources companies and peak industry bodies, including Anglo American, BHP, MMG, OceanaGold, OZ Minerals, Peabody, Newcrest, Newmont, Rio Tinto, QRC, MCA and ICMM.

Sandy has extensive experience working across the mineral resources sector – on site, in a corporate environment, in government, consulting, not-for-profit and research. She brings practical industry knowledge to her applied research projects.


Sandy’s research projects involve collaboration with other SMI centres, industry partners, and First Nations peoples and their representative organisations. She also participates in the Working Together community of practice, an initiative of the MCA and National Native Title Council, which aims to maximise outcomes between the minerals industry and Indigenous people in Australia.

Key Publications

Worden, S., Mackenzie, S., & Bourke, P. (2022). Initiating a multi-stakeholder participatory approach: The Rosebery case study. Brisbane, Australia: CRC TiME Limited.

Worden, S. (2021). Mineral resources governance: A case study of Canadian First Nations’ mining policies. Brisbane, Australia; Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland.

Worden, S., Mackenzie, S., & Bourke, P. (2021). Understanding local readiness for closure – initiating a multi-stakeholder participatory approach. Brisbane, Australia: CRC TiME Limited.

Worden, S., Côte, C., Svobodova, K., Arratia-Solar, A., Everingham, J., Asmussen, P., Edraki, M., & Erskine, P. (2021). Baseline works for mine rehabilitation and closure collaboration project. Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland: Brisbane, Australia.

Everingham, J., Svobodova, K., Lèbre, É., Worden, S., & Owen, J. R. (2020). Mining regions in transition – a global scan. Brisbane: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. University of Queensland.

Svobodova, K., Owen, J. R., Harris, J., Worden, S. (2020). Complexities and contradictions in the global energy transition: A re-evaluation of country-level factors and dependencies. Applied Energy, 265, 114778.

Worden, S. (2020). Integrated mine closure planning: A rapid scan of innovative corporate practice. Brisbane: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. University of Queensland.

Worden, S. (2019). The construction and assessment of social risk: Perspectives from Australian coal mining project teams, PhD thesis, Brisbane: University of Queensland.

Worden, S. (2018). Differentiating social risk and impact in mining, paper presented at IAIA19: 39th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment, Brisbane, Australia, 29 April-2 May.

Worden, S. (2017). Risk tolerance and mining projects: What’s at risk and who decides? paper presented at the Symposium for IA Practitioners and Researchers: Doing Impact Assessment in the Context of Uncertainty and Risk, Sydney, Australia, 20-21 February.

Kemp, D., Worden, S., and Owen, J.R. (2016). Differentiated social risk: Rebound dynamics and sustainability performance in mining, Resources Policy, 50: 19-26.

Worden, S. (2016). Is the mining industry misdiagnosing social risk? Risk and Resilience Mining Solutions 2016, Vancouver, Canada, 14-16 November.

Worden, S. (2016). Assessing the social risk of coal mining projects, 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggle for a Better World, Vienna, 19-14 July 2016.


Sandy’s research has been supported through a combination of university funding and industry-university commissioned projects. In December 2019, she was awarded a University of Queensland Early Career Researcher grant to investigate Canadian First Nations’ governance of mineral resource development on their traditional territories.