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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.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J.S. Andrew 2003. ‘Potential application of mediation to land use conflicts in small-scale mining’, Journal of Cleaner Production 11: 117–30.

A. Aubynn 2009. ‘Sustainable solution or a marriage of inconvenience? The coexistence of large-scale mining and artisanal and small-scale mining on the Abosso Goldfields concession in Western Ghana’, Resources Policy 34: 6470.

C. Ballard & G. Banks . 2003. ‘Resource wars: the anthropology of mining’, Annual Review of Anthropology 32: 287313.

A. Bebbington , L. Hinojosa , D. Humphreys Bebbington , M.L. Burneo & X. Warnaars . 2008. ‘Contention and ambiguity: mining and the possibilities of development’, Development and Change 39, 6: 887914.

R. Bush 2009. ‘Soon there will be no-one left to take the corpses to the morgue. Accumulation and abjection in Ghana's mining communities’, Resources Policy 34: 5763.

S. Geenen 2011b. ‘Relations and regulations in local gold trade networks in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo’, Journal of Eastern African Studies 5, 3: 427–46.

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J. Hönke 2010. ‘New political topographies. Mining companies and indirect discharge in Southern Katanga (DRC)’, Politique Africaine 120: 105–27.

E. Kennes 2005. ‘The mining sector in Congo; the victim or the orphan of globalization?’, in S. Marysse & F. Reyntjens , eds. The Political Economy of the Great Lakes Region in Africa. The pitfalls of enforced democracy and globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 152–89.

S. Marysse 2005. ‘Regress, war and fragile recovery: the case of the DR Congo’, in S. Marysse & F. Reyntjens , eds. The Political Economy of the Great Lakes Region in Africa. The pitfalls of enforced democracy and globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 125–51.

J.C. Ribot & N.L. Peluso . 2003. ‘A theory of access’, Rural Sociology 68, 2: 153–81.

E. Schlager & E. Ostrom 1992. ‘Property-rights regimes and natural resources: a conceptual analysis’, Land Economics 68, 3: 249–62.

T. Sikor & C. Lund . 2009. ‘Access and property: a question of power and authority’, Development and Change 40, 1: 122.

F. Van Acker 2005. ‘Where did all the land go? Enclosure and social struggle in Kivu (DRCongo)’, Review of African Political Economy 32, 103: 7998.

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The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
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