War, Conflict, And Big Data: Meet The Indiana Jones Of The Mining Industry

Don’t assume that the local population works by the same rules that you do, or even understands the same rules. Taking the time to understand how people make decisions, and the rules by which those decisions are made is time exceedingly well spent.

Donald Bray, Founder of Chalkstone Partners Limited

When Donald Bray reads this title, he’s going to hate it. But I couldn’t help myself.

How else do you describe a mild-mannered PHD anthropologist from Cambridge that ends up working in Middle Eastern war zones, the jungles of South America, and sub-Saharan Africa? Anyone who has been following this podcast knows I love the adventurers, so this was one of my favorites.

In reality Donald is the founder of Chalkstone Partners Limited, a United Kingdom based consultancy specializing in a data driven approach to understanding conflict, communities, and power structures.

After nearly a decade working in conflict zones across the middle east and Africa for the UK government he now applies these hard-earned skills to the mining and energy sector.

In this conversation we discuss:

  • How living in the Arctic inspired Donald to become an anthropologist.
  • What Donald learned about winning over “hearts and minds” during his 6 years on the ground in Afghanistan.
  • Applying the science of ethnography to conflict zones.
  • The similarity between resource projects and war zones.
  • How Donald builds local teams to gather data in the regions he operates.
  • How Donald is applying big data techniques to quantify decision making and manage social risk.
  • What mining and oil and gas companies are doing better than the US military.

I had a great conversation with Donald, who is truly a unique individual in the space.

If you work for, or invest in, mining companies, listen to this podcast – it will totally change the way you look at and evaluate political and social risk.

Jamie Keech

PS: You can also check us out on iTunes here.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Emmanuel

    But he has failed to pay the Kenyan Fielders who worked for his company, Realfield. I don’t see any sense to praise him because he is engaged in slavery and exploitation.

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