Nick Bainton is an anthropologist with a deep specialisation in the field of large-scale resource extraction in Papua New Guinea and the broader Pacific region. He is widely regarded as the preeminent expert on the social impacts of the Lihir gold mine.   

Nick has over 15 years of research leadership spanning academic and applied fields. He has conducted many years of fieldwork and published widely on the social, political, economic and cultural aspects of extraction.

He is currently collaborating with scholars from the Pacific, UK, and Europe on the pressure to extract energy transition minerals and metals from the Pacific under conditions of climate change.

More recently, he has been engaged to provide specialist advice on the human rights legacy impact assessment for the Panguna copper mine on Boungainville Island, Papua New Guinea.  

He has wide experience teaching anthropology at all levels, post graduate supervision, mentoring junior scholars and practitioners, and conducting masterclasses in applied anthropological methods, social impact assessment, participatory development, and social performance.

In addition to his academic career, Nick spent seven years working for a multinational mining company as a social performance manager.


Nick is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Resources, Environment and Development Program in the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

He is also an affiliate with the Centre for Energy Ethics, University of St Andrews (UK).