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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

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.

Additional Info

Author(s)
B Verbrugge, J Cuvelier, S Van Bockstael
Publication Year
2015
Language
English
Data Source Classification
Academic Study
Research Type
Both
Research Methodology
Primary - OBSERVATION, Secondary - PREVIOUS RESEARCH, Secondary - OFFICIAL STATISTICS
Thematic Tags
Political, Governance, Legal, Land Rights, Laws and Regulations, Licensing, Mineral Rights
Minerals
Diamond, Gold, Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten
Region
East Asia & Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa
Country
Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Philippines
Last Updated
June 3, 2021