Andy Symington
Postgraduate Research Student

Andy Symington

BA (Hons); Master of Human Rights Law & Policy

PhD Candidate

Andy is a business and human rights specialist focused on research into corporate engagement with rights in the mining industry and its supply chains. Andy’s PhD research focuses on factors affecting corporate engagement with Indigenous and other human rights norms in South American lithium extraction.

Lithium is a crucial element of the sustainable transition due to its role in energy storage. However, a ‘just transition’ requires that the extraction and production associated with renewable technology is itself sustainable on both environmental and social grounds, which requires looking at lithium extraction with a business and human rights lens. This project examines the risk and success factors influencing how companies engage with Indigenous communities and their rights in the ‘lithium triangle’ region of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. It analyses the effects of international law, supply chain pressures, Indigenous self-determination strategies and societal expectations of business among other themes

Areas of research

Human Rights Law; Indigenous Law; Mining Law; Business and Human Rights; Community Relations; Compliance; Policy and Governance


Justine Nolan, Christopher Michaelsen, Carolien van Ham

Publications and presentations

Review: Tethered Fates: Companies, Communities and Rights at Stake (2020) Australian Journal of Human Rights,

2020 5th Business and Human Rights Young Researchers Summit, Geneva
Presented research project

2020 Law Schools Global League Academic Conference, Sydney
Presented a paper

2019 ANZSIL Conference, Canberra
Presented a paper at the postgraduate workshop

Implementation of the Guiding Principles in the Extractive Industries in South America: Observations from the Lithium Triangle, Revista Internacional de Derechos Humanos (2021),

Migrant workers and the COVID-19 crisis in Australia: an overview of governmental responses, Australian Journal of Human Rights (2021),

The Fireworks Factory Case: Assessing Horizontal State Obligations in the Business and Human Rights Arena, International Law Association Brazil Blog (2020),

RMIT Business and Human Rights Symposium (2021) Invited to be a participant.

Global Water Institute Conference on the Lithium Supply Chain (2020) Invited to be part of the organising committee. Arranged and chaired a panel on sustainability in the industry.

Global Business & Human Rights Scholars Association – Latin American Branch (2020) Invited to and participated in a scholars’ workshop.

Innovate Rights Conference, UNSW Sydney (2019) Chaired a panel on the academic workshop day