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Disputed access to the gold sites in Luhwindja, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo*

  • Sara Geenen (a1) and Klara Claessens (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

In a context of increased competition over natural resources, large-scale investors are showing renewed interest in eastern Congo's mineral resources. At the local level this is resulting in fierce disputes over access to land and to mining sites. This article offers an empirical study of access in Luhwindja, where a multinational mining company has recently begun to exploit gold. We first sketch the context, examining the overlapping legal fields and analysing how various actors gain and control access to the gold mines. Next we study how the arrival of Banro Corporation in Luhwindja has altered power relations at the local level. Looking more specifically at the displacement of artisanal miners and the resettlement of local communities, we demonstrate how the company, local elites and the local population have engaged in a complex struggle for access.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: sara.geenen@ua.ac.be
Footnotes
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We are grateful to our colleagues from the Université Catholique de Bukavu: Gabriel Kamundala, Francine Iragi, Innocent Utshudi and Janvier Kilosho and to VLIR (Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad) and CEGEMI for financing. We also thank Serge Lammens, Pierre Merlet, Filip Reyntjens and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. A previous version of this article has been presented by the first author at the conference of the Commission on Legal Pluralism, Cape Town, September 2011.

Footnotes
References
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Businessman, Bukavu, 06.06.2012
Chef de groupement, Luhwindja, 09.01.2011
Chef de poste, Luhwindja, 24.10.2011
Community leader, Luhwindja, 08.01.2011 and 26.10.2011
Former miner a, Luhwindja, 26.10.2011
Former miner b, Luhwindja, 08.01.2011
Former miners focus group, Luhwindja (Lubanda), 07.01.2011
Former shaft manager a, Luhwindja, 08.01.2011
Former shaft manager b, Luhwindja, 09.01.2011
Lawyer, Bukavu, 3.11.2011
Leader artisanal miners, Luhwindja, 08.01.2011
Local human rights organisation, Bukavu, 28.09.2012
Local NGO, Bukavu, 08.11.2011
MGL employee, Luhwindja, 08.01.2011
Miner, Kamituga, 04.04.2008 and 14.04.2008
Miners focus group, Luhwindja (Kaduma), 28.10.2011
Public relations manager (Twangiza Mining), Luhwindja, 10.01.2011
Women focus group, Luhwindja, 28.10.2011
Throne pretender, Bukavu, 10.10.2012
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