Gold Matters: Sustainability Transformations in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining
The project explores whether a transformative approach towards sustainability can arise in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM). An estimated 16 million people in low and lower-middle income countries are dependent on ASGM as a livelihood. Despite its economic significance, however, ASGM is associated with negative environmental, social, labour and health impacts. These problems generate critical barriers to sustainability. To address sustainability-linked transformation, there is an urgent need for evidence regarding how gold mining actors engage with, understand, and transform their relationships to the natural, social, political, and economic worlds.
The research will consider whether and how societal transformation towards sustainable mining futures is possible in ASGM. It will critically reflect on the character of sustainability, for whom, where, and how. The concept of gold lifeways focuses attention on sustainability dynamics in ways that bring to the fore sociality, materiality, and technological formations. A multi-actor and trans-regional approach is deployed, with comparative analysis across sites in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Impact is through: generation of social scientific evidence on sustainability, policy influence, and public debate. Public communication, referred to under the rubric of Sustainability Conversations, involves co-production of knowledge with mining actors, incorporating voices all-too-often excluded from debates on ASGM. Multimodal visual representations form the basis of a pop-up exhibition, which will travel across Africa, Europe and Brazil.
Principal investigators: Dr. S. Luning, Leiden University (the Netherlands), Dr. M. de Theije, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Prof. M. Schnegg, University of Hamburg (Germany), Dr. C. Lanzano, Nordic Africa Institute (Sweden), Dr. P. Hochet, Insuco Foundation for Social Science Research (Burkina Faso), Dr. L. da Costa Ferreira, Campinas State University (Brazil)