Nauru Phosphate History and the Resource Curse Narrative
Nauruans’ experiences of a resource curse from mining phosphate stands, as a case study of retarded development. Nauru was much adulated in the press in the early 20th century as an example of a small island that became wealthy through mining. The high grade phosphate that covered four fifths of the island was considered by outsiders as a very lucrative resource that had to be mined, particularly as fertilizer to enhance the pastures of Australia and New Zealand. The development of Nauru has been misinterpreted by attributions of wealth to Nauruans when most of the profits from mining accrued to the mining agencies. Sales of phosphate yielded far greater development to Australian agriculture than to Nauruan owners of the resource. Meanwhile the small island surface of Nauru underwent gradual destruction of its interior retarding any developments, economic or humanitarian.
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