Simon Lobach new


PhD Researcher in International History and Politics
Spoken languages
English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch
Areas of expertise
  • Environmental History
  • Political ecologies of land use change, especially tropical forest
  • Extractivism
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Latin America
  • South America
  • Caribbean

PhD Thesis


PhD title: Aluminium from Amazonia: An environmental history

Expected completion date January 2027

PhD Supervisor & Co-Supervisor: Susanna Hecht and Filipe Calvão

Expected completion date: December 2023

My dissertation describes the history of the aluminium sector in the Amazon. Aluminium is derived from bauxite, which is mined in four countries in the Amazon: Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. With the exception of Guyana, these countries also possess aluminium smelters powered by hydroelectric dams. This dissertation places the expansion of the aluminium sector in Amazonia within international history, but at the same time assesses the socio-environmental impacts of the industry on these rich, diverse, yet vulnerable biome.



Simon Lobach works specializing on the environmental history of Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly the position of traditional people in expanding extraction activities in the Caribbean Amazon. Simon has a broad academic background in History, Latin American Studies and International Affairs, and several years of professional experience in international environmental cooperation. Having lived and worked in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Brazil, Simon is fully fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch.


Research Interests

  • Mining
  • Aluminium smelting
  • Hdroelectricity
  • Amazonia
  • Traditional populations
  • Environmental impacts
  • Reforestation

Relevant Publications and Works

  • S. Lobach, 2023. ""Ecological Stereotypes: Perceptions of Indigenous People and Maroons in Late Colonial Suriname"", Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. 
  • S. Lobach, 2023. ""Aluminium in Suriname (1898-2020): An Industry Came and Went, but its Impacts on the Maroon Communities Remain"", International Development Policy, Vol. 16.
  • S. Lobach, forthcoming. ""Suspicious Minds: Aluminium Production in the Amazon"", Aluminium International Today, July/August 2023.
  • S. Lobach and E. Storli, 2021. ""The End of the Free State of Rorac: Bauxite Concessioning and Maroon Displacement in Colonial Suriname"", Cahiers d'Histoire de l'Aluminium, No. 67, pp. 53-73.
  • R. Gainza and S. Lobach, 2021. ""Green Economy Performance of Environmental Initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean"". J. Uitto (ed.), Evaluating Environment in International Development. Routledge, pp. 237-264.


  • Lecturer in course ""Extractivism"" (Autumn 2023)
  • Research assistant for the project ""Synthetic Lives: The Futures of Mining"" since 2022.
  • Visiting fellow at the Nucleus for Higher Amazonian Studies at the Federal University of Pará (Belém, Brazil) (Spring semester 2022).
  • Teaching asisstant (2018-2022)



  • Consultant, World Water Development Programme, UNESCO
  • Consultant, Green Economy Initiative, UNEP
  • Consultant, Social Insurance Scheme of the Netherlands
  • Self-employed writer, editor, translator


Doc Mobility grant 2022




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