Legacy of a Miner's Daughter and Assessment of the Social Changes of the Banabans after Phosphate Mining on Banaba

By Stacey King and Roabeia Ken Sigrah

(Conference Paper) 


The global impact of phosphate discovery on Banaba society was assessed. The study analyzed the ongoing and continued societal changes of the islands indigenous inhabitants, known as Banabans during and after phosphate mining on Banaba (Ocean Island). After twenty-four years since the cessation of mining on Ocean Island the locals have attempted little effort of rehabilitation. This study highlights the impact of the human and environmental catastrophe, and in doing so gives an analysis of the obstacles left as an ongoing legacy of what had happened on Banaba from the mining activities. This paper identifies the challenges that must be overcome to fully take into account the rich social norms and traditions of the Banabans expressed through their songs, myths, legends, oral literatures, dances, meetings and behavioral pattern of human interaction. The roles of the former colonial government, the United Kingdom with neighboring developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand to rehabilitate Banabans society from a humanitarian perspective is imperative to safeguard the extinction of a unique race, culture and society. Therefore the study proposed key areas of responsibility such as rehabilitation, compensation, and support for proper and sustainable resource developments of Rabi and Ocean Island. With the ever-increasing trend towards Globalization and the human rights movements long laid claim to a universalizing mission (Keohane & Nye 2000), the International community also has a vital role and level of responsibility. It concluded that an International lobbying and media campaign is not only crucial but also necessary to expedite the Banabans call for full social and humanitarian recovery.

Legacy of a Miner's Daughter: Banaba after Phosphate Mining

  • Conference Paper: ISLANDS of the WORLD VIII Taiwan

    This paper was presented and published at ISLANDS of the WORLD VIII International Conference “Changing Islands – Changing Worlds”1-7 November 2004, Kinmen Island (Quemoy), Taiwan

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