African Artisanal Mining from the Inside Out: Access, norms and power in Congo’s gold sector, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

African Artisanal Mining from the Inside Out

Access, norms and power in Congo’s gold sector, 1st Edition

By Sara Geenen


240 pages | 26 B/W Illus.

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Artisanal mining is commonly associated with violent conflict, rampant corruption and desperate poverty. Yet millions of people across Sub Sahara Africa depend on it. Many of them are living in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), home to important mineral reserves, but also to a plethora of armed groups and massive human rights violations.

African Artisanal Mining from the Inside Out provides a rich and in-depth analysis of the Congolese gold sector. Instead of portraying miners and traders as passive victims of economic forces, regional conflicts or disheartening national policies, it focuses on how they gain access to and benefit from gold. It shows a professional artisanal mining sector governed by a set of specific norms, offering ample opportunities for flexible employment and local livelihood support and being well-connected to the local economy and society. It argues for the viability of artisanal gold mining in the context of weak African states and in the transition towards a post-conflict and more industrialized economy.

This book will be of great interest to researchers and postgraduates studying natural resources and development as well as those in development studies, African studies, sociology, political economy, political ecology, legal pluralism, and history.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Prospecting African Artisanal Minding 1. Researching and Rethinking African Artisanal Mining 2. Digging into Artisanal Mining's History Part 2: The Gold Mines from the Inside Out 3. Access In and Around the Mines 4. Miners and Traders 5. Access in the Gold Trade Part 3: Changes from the Outside 6. Changes in Access: Formalisation 7. Changes in Access: Industrialisation 7. African Artisanal Mining: Lessons from the DRC

About the Author

Sara Geenen is working as post-doctoral research fellow with the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). She is affiliated with the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

About the Series

Routledge Studies of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development

This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to the extractive industries and sustainable development, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Environmental Science