Papua New Guinea (PNG) has long been a site of analysis for exploring the links between natural resources and conflict, having been cited as an example in prominent studies of the “natural resource curse” and used as a source of learning in international debates on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Over the past decade, this scholarship has expanded to encompass conflict analysis and peace building. This paper considers four themes identified in the contemporary literature, each with reference to examples drawn from PNG: 1) the costs of conflict on business and the power of local communities; 2) tensions between the state as regulator and the state as shareholder; 3) the unsatisfactory performance of compensation packages and CSR projects; and 4) an emphasis on the economic dimensions of the natural resource curse in the search for new frameworks. Through a discussion of these themes, the paper calls for the development of natural resource conflict mitigation strategies that are based on a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of existing CSR measures.
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