To date, the expansive social science literature on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Africa has received little attention from scholars of agrarian political economy. This paper attempts to bridge this gap, based on an in-depth study of ASM in South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main argument is that the capital–labour social relation underpinning ASM in South Kivu has facilitated the emergence of a capitalist managerial class of dynamic and prosperous rural Congolese. This class has, in turn, been driving increasing sectoral productivity via technological assimilation and capital formation, while also making commercial and productive investments in other, non-mining sectors. Drawing from the findings, the common conceptualisation of African ASM as a low productivity, subsistence activity is questioned, and the perception in the existing literature that African ASM miners and foreign mining corporations are not in competition for the same mineral deposits is challenged.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change