Min(d)ing the land: The relationship between artisanal and small-scale mining and surface land arrangements in the southern Philippines, eastern DRC and Liberia
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Rural Studies, 37, (2015), pp. 50-60
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Journal of Rural Studies
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
This article examines the relationship between artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and surface land tenure arrangements, through a comparison of mining areas in the southern Philippines, the eastern DRC and Liberia. In all three cases, ASM takes place in peripheral regions outside central state control, where both land- and mineral tenure are characterized by high degrees of informality. Based on our comparative analysis, we highlight three core propositions. First, the relationship between ASM and surface land claimants is not (merely) characterized by antagonism, but involves a significant degree of negotiation and mutual benefit-sharing. Secondly, even in places purportedly characterized by a weak state presence, people make constant references to state-sanctioned legality to underpin their (often overlapping) claims to mineral resource wealth; whether as miner or as a surface landowner claiming royalties. Thirdly, people's ability to effectively use state-sanctioned legality as a mechanism to access mineral wealth -and to exclude others from accessing this wealth-is not distributed equally, and hinges on access to vital financial and political resources.
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