Contested extractivism

Actors and strategies in conflicts over mining

Authored by: Kristina Dietz , Bettina Engels

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:


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In the period 2000–12, high prices on the world market and increasing demand for raw materials, accompanied by insecurity on the financial markets, led to a worldwide resource boom. This boom was notably reflected in the mining sector. Increasing investment and production resulted in a historically unique level of growth in this sector (ICMM 2014: 10). Most investments went to states in the Global South. Pressured by the neo-liberal structural adjustments endorsed by the international financial institutions, many national governments supported the mining sector through legal reforms and policies of liberalization and privatization. National reforms, in combination with increasing investments, resulted in many states expanding the mining sector into territories that up until then were assumed to be ‘unproductive’ (Svampa 2012: 14). This expansion is linked to comprehensive sociospatial transformation processes. The existing land uses, land regimes, and property relations of lands are changing; access to water and land are transforming; new material infrastructures, such as paved roads and harbours, are being built; socioeconomic expectations are being created; and social relations, such as labour, gender, and class relations, and political power relations are being restructured (Peluso and Lund 2011: 668). Since the 2000s, the expansion of the mining sector has triggered diverse social conflicts involving an increasing number of different state, non-state, and private sector actors.

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