1st Edition

Mining, Mobility, and Social Change in the Global South Regional Perspectives

    250 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume focuses on how, why, under what conditions, and with what effects people move across space in relation to mining, asking how a focus on spatial mobility can aid scholars and policymakers in understanding the complex relation between mining and social change.

    This collection centers the concept of mobility to address the diversity of mining-related population movements as well as the agency of people engaged in these movements. This volume opens by introducing both the historical context and conceptual tools for analyzing the mining-mobility nexus, followed by case study chapters focusing on three regions with significant histories of mineral extraction and where mining currently plays an important role in socio-economic life: the Andes, Central and West Africa, and Melanesia. Written by authors with expertise in diverse fields, including anthropology, development studies, geography, and history, case study chapters address areas of both large- and smallscale mining. They explore the historical-geographical factors shaping mining-related mobilities, the meanings people attach to these movements, and the relations between people’s mobility practices and the flows of other things put in motion by mining, including capital, ideas, technologies, and toxic contamination. The result is an important volume that provides fresh insights into the social geographies and spatial politics of extraction.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of mining and the extractive industries, spatial politics and geography, mobility and migration, development, and the social and environmental dimensions of natural resources more generally.

    List of illustrations

    Notes on contributors



    1 An introduction to mining, mobility, and social change

    Matthew Himley, David Brereton and Gerardo Castillo Guzmán



    The Andes

    2 Ch’ixi mobilities: small-scale mining and Indigenous autonomy in the Bolivian tin belt

    Andrea Marston

    3 Mining, infrastructure, and mobility in the Andes

    Gerardo Damonte, Julieta Godfrid and Ana Paula López

    4 Navigating gendered landscapes of mineral extraction: spatial mobility, women’s autonomy, and mining

    development in the Peruvian Andes

    Gerardo Castillo Guzmán



    Central and West Africa

    5 Chasing gold: technology, people, and matter on the move in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Philippe Dunia Kabunga, Simon Marijsse and Sara Geenen

    6 Making mining localities: Trajectories and stories of mining and mobility in Zambia

    Patience Mususa and Iva Peša

    7 The governance of ASGM in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire: (im)mobility, territory, and technological change

    Anna Dessertine, Robin Petit-Roulet, Muriel Champy and Ibrahima Kalil Doumbouya




    8 Mining-induced in-migration in Papua New Guinea

    Glenn Banks and Tobias Schwörer

    9 Mining fronts, labor mobilities, and the construction of locality in Thio, New Caledonia

    Pierre-Yves Le Meur

    10 Beyond the enclave: workforce mobility and livelihoods in a New Caledonia mining region

    Séverine Bouard and Valentine Boudjema




    11 Mining and mobility: key insights, governance implications, and future research

    David Brereton, Gerardo Castillo Guzmán and Matthew Himley


    Gerardo Castillo Guzmán is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), Peru. He is Coordinator of the Anthropology of the City Research Group at PUCP and Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, Australia.

    Matthew Himley is Professor of Geography at Illinois State University, USA. He is a nature–society geographer with research interests in the political ecology and political economy of resource industries, especially in the Andean region of South America. He is Co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Critical Resource Geography (Routledge, 2021).

    David Brereton is Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, where he was Foundation Director of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. Since retiring from the University in 2016, he has continued to undertake research and advisory work focused on improving corporate social performance in the global mining sector.

    "This is a fascinating collection of studies offering new perspectives to existing literature on mining, both large and small-scale, by focusing on how this activity affects and is affected by peoples´ mobility. Through rich stories and original research readers travel the world, from the tin belt of Bolivia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and distant New Caledonia, meeting men and women on the move, as migrants and workers, people whose lives are deeply intertwined with the mines. The result is a deeply satisfying volume providing new insights for academics, activists, and policymakers."

    Cynthia A. Sanborn, Professor of Political Science and Researcher, Center for the Study of China and the Asia-Pacific, Universidad del Pacífico, Peru

    "This provocative volume draws our attention to the multitude of human and non-human movements that are put into motion through resource extraction projects. The insights from Mining, Mobility, and Social Change in the Global South cross scales, disciplines, and geographies and ultimately culminate into a proposition for re-defining how we interpret the spatial and temporal extent of mining projects and their activities. It is an important contribution for scholars, policy makers, and advocates in addition to the many other professions embedded in the global resource economy."

    John OwenHonorary Professor, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland, Australia and Visiting Professor, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State, South Africa