Green gold: the politics of small-scale mining reform

Andrew Hook // Department of Human Geography/Institute of Development Studies // 11th April 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133Abstract:

In the context of growing attention on the environmental impacts of small-scale gold mining, particularly related to deforestation and mercury pollution, there has been an increase in policy attention on reforming the sector. The policy frameworks for dealing with the perceived problems have generally centred on ‘formalization’- style approaches according to which a combination of private property rights and supporting regulatory and technological frameworks will secure a more ‘responsible’ form of mining. This presentation will examine Guyana’s experiences in developing and implementing such policies. It will discuss some of the political dimensions that are often overlooked or over-simplified in policy approaches, even though they arguably have a strong bearing on both policy success and on the lives and livelihoods of poorer land users. These dimensions relate to contested local understandings of environmental change, unresolved contentiousness among poorer miners and indigenous groups over the structural basis of formal titles, and inherent ‘informality’ amidst intense resource competition, state fragility and remote geographies.



Andrew Hook is an ESRC- funded doctoral researcher in the Department of Human Geography. He spent one year conducting fieldwork in Guyana for this research project, having previously worked there as an ODI Fellow and a UNDP consultant.


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