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Who owns the mud?: Valuable leftovers, sociotechnical innovation and changing relations of production in artisanal gold mining (Burkina Faso)
The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0481-5250
IFSRA, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
2021 (English)In: Journal of Agrarian Change, ISSN 1471-0358, E-ISSN 1471-0366, Vol. 21, no 3, p. 433-458Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The expansion of artisanal gold mining has contributed to agrarian change in most of the global South—including West Africa: the sector offers interesting examples of technological and socio‐economic change, reflecting broader dynamics in the political economy of mining. In this article, we rely on our multisited ethnography to show how innovations in gold processing—particularly, the shift from mercury‐based to cyanide‐based techniques—reconfigured power relations and organizational patterns in the artisanal mining sector in Burkina Faso. We show that, in the context of structural transformations and pressure from powerful actors, the mechanisms of value creation, the definition of property rights and the relations of production remained open for negotiation and redefinition. Bringing attention to new scenarios opened by the shift to cyanide for processing gold—a transformative factor in many gold mining areas across the world—our analysis contributes to a broader reflection on the nexus between the trajectories of sociotechnical innovation and the ongoing power struggles in the informal economies of resource extraction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. Vol. 21, no 3, p. 433-458
Keywords [en]
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), Burkina Faso, Cyanide, Property rights, Relations of production, Sociotechnical innovation
National Category
Social Anthropology Globalisation Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nai:diva-2507DOI: 10.1111/joac.12412OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nai-2507DiVA, id: diva2:1534986
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 462.17.201Available from: 2021-03-07 Created: 2021-03-07 Last updated: 2022-12-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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