From mountain to sea: The erosion and extraction of sovereign sands. IAG Tasmania 2019.

2019 Sammler, K. From mountain to sea: The erosion and extraction of sovereign sands. Institute of Australian Geographers Conference. Hobart, Tasmania 9–13 Jul.


TITLE: From mountain to sea: The erosion and extraction of sovereign sands

AUTHOR: Katherine G. Sammler, PhD, California State University Maritime

ABSTRACT: The black sands off Aotearoa New Zealand’s Taranaki Bight are made of titanomagnetite, containing high concentrations of iron. Their dark color and magnetic properties signify the coveted ore within, targeted for controversial seabed mining. These sands originate from the volcanic Mt. Taranaki, eroded by streams and rivers into the ocean, representing a direct material exchange from mountains to sea. Mt. Taranaki is the third geographic feature in the country to receive legal personality, meaning local Māori tribes will share guardianship of the sacred mountain with the government, as opposed to exerting human sovereignty over it. Within the context of longstanding disputes over Māori rights to the foreshore, the fractal property of coasts draw attention to the material politics of dividing land and sea, and therefore offshore resource rights. This sand exhibits geontological tensions between the entangled natures of life/non-life, subject/object, interior/exterior, and the mobility and spatiality of a granular body.


SESSIONS: Granular Geographies: sensing the materiality of stone, sand and soil

Co-convenors: Uma Kothari and Vanessa Lamb (University of Melbourne) Study Group: Critical Development & Cultural Geography

Stone, sand and soil are composed of small grains, yet we rarely think of their singularity, instead focusing on the discrete objects that they collectively constitute. In this session, we explore the sensory, affective and productive capacities of these substances, and seek to better conceptualize how these granular entities are integral to the material world. We aim to investigate how their excavation, accumulation and circulation produces human and non-human entanglements, and connects people and places to create granular geographies. We also examine how political tensions around these processes are intensifying, their growing demand and scarcity impacting upon construction projects.I.


I. Granular Geographies: sensing the materiality of stone, sand and soil I: assembling and disassembling.
Vanessa Lamb, Following a disappearing resource: Research methods for study of the global trade in sand.
Katherine Sammler, From mountain to sea: The erosion and extraction of sovereign sands.
Sarah Robertson, Re-placing soil in cities.
Lilian Pearce, Restoring Broken Histories.

II. Granular Geographies: sensing the materiality of stone, sand and soil II: on more solid ground
Andrea Connor and Donald McNeill, Territory and the Archaeosphere: Surface Disruptions at Barangaroo.
Amelia Hine, Trace elements: Selenium and its weed across the ‘Badlands’.
Anna Tweeddale, Textures of aluminium: Attending to situated entanglements of C21st construction.

III. Granular Geographies sensing the materiality of stone, sand and soil III

Alison Browne, Guiding carbon farming using interdisciplinary mixed methods mapping.
Tim Edensor, Making Melbourne concrete: Geographies of materiality and supply .
Uma Kothari, Shifting sands: the rhythms and temporalities of island sandscapes.
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