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Mads Barbesgaard

Mads Barbesgaard

Associated Senior Lecturer

Mads Barbesgaard

"Blood on the floor": The nickel commodity frontier and inter-capitalist competition under green extractivism


  • Mads Barbesgaard
  • Andy Whitmore

Summary, in English

Major companies in the mining industry are strategizing to benefit from the expected rise in demand for energy
"transition minerals" that underpin current technologies of decarbonization (such as batteries and wind turbines).
This article elucidates their current strategies of accumulation through the case of BHP, the world's largest mining
company. We draw on political ecology and commodity frontier theory in order to grapple with inter-capitalist
competition under the current moment of green extractivism by examining firm and state practices in the nickel
commodity frontier. Empirically, we examine the changing role that nickel has played in BHP's asset portfolio
during the past decade where it has attempted to significantly accumulate from the expansion of the nickel
commodity frontier. Yet, despite this centering of the expansion of the nickel commodity frontier for its particular
strategy of accumulation under green extractivism, it has so far been unsuccessful. Given this potential for failure
of company practices in commodity frontiers, we argue that green extractivism should not always and everywhere
be seen as a story foretold.


  • Department of Human Geography

Publishing year





Journal of Political Ecology

Document type

Journal article


University of Arizona


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary




  • ISSN: 1073-0451