Globalisation strategies and roles of Australian junior mining firms in Latin America

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Australian junior mining firms’ globalisation strategies and roles inside the sector remain understudied in economic geography. Such firms are often overshadowed by larger global mining interests, whose operations drive most foreign direct investment, capital, and operational expenditure tied to resource extraction. Unlike large multinationals and state-owned enterprises, junior firms are nimble, often untethered from path-dependent national systems, less encumbered by statutory constraints or corporate structures, and less accountable to shareholders. This study sought to understand globalisation strategies and roles among junior mining firms by reference to a case study of 55 Australian junior firms in Latin America. We use spatial analysis to uncover an extensive network of Australian junior firm activity across Latin America, primarily tied to critical established minerals such as copper and expanding minerals such as lithium. The junior firms’ spatial distribution and project composition outline three globalisation strategies and roles within the mining industries: specialised service providers supporting the further development of mature and emerging mining industries and regions; regional spearheads pushing the geopolitical boundaries of the mining industries by opening new destinations; and mineral avant-gardists developing new speculative industries that are critical to clean energy technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-195
Number of pages17
JournalGeographical Research
Issue number1
Early online date5 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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