Social minefield

This research project aims to contribute to the literature on post-conflict economic recovery by quantitatively studying the nexus between mineral resources, conflict and employment opportunities in eastern DRC. The mining sector in the DRC is currently undergoing a transition from artisanal to industrial mining. In several mining sites, there is a tense co-existance between both modes of mineral production. Within this framework, we study: 

  • The profile of artisanal miners and their coping mechanisms;
  • How the transformation of the mining sector may affect individual-level determinants of participation in collective violence;
  • If the presence of mineral extraction sites increases local conflict events; and if that relationship depends on the operational mode of the site.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 


What is the profile of artisanal miners, and what are their coping mechanisms? 
How may the transformation of the mining sector affect individual-level determinants of participation in collective violence? 

In order to study these questions, we conducted four rounds of fieldwork in the gold mining town of Kamituga (read about Kamituga’s history here).

  • June 2013
    Census of artisanal gold mining pits and actors
  • May – June 2014
    Semi-structured interviews with stakeholders & focus group discussion with artisanal miners
  • December 2014
    Pilot of our survey instruments and interviews with stakeholders
  • March – May 2015
    Structured survey among a representative sample of 469 artisanal miners

The information collected during our fieldwork so far led to the following research output:

  • “The social minefield of gold digging in South-Kivu, DRC: the case of Kamituga” 2015. IOB Policy Brief 10.
    (with Kilosho Buraye and Marijke Verpoorten) PDF
  • “The social minefield of gold digging in Kamituga, South-Kivu” 2015. Amani Itakuya II Essay Series, essay 14.
    (with Kilosho Buraye and Marijke Verpoorten) link
  • “Relocation, reorientation, or confrontation? Insights from a representative study among artisanal miners in Kamituga, South-Kivu” 2016. IOB Working Paper 9.
    (with Marijke Verpoorten and Kilosho Buraye) PDF
  • “Rélocation, réorientation, ou confrontation? Aperçus à partir d’un sondage représentatif des mineurs artisanaux à Kamituga, Sud-Kivu” 2016. IOB Working Paper 10.
    (with Marijke Verpoorten and Kilosho Buraye) PDF
  • “Defusing the social minefield of gold sites in Kamituga, South Kivu. From legal pluralism to the re-making of institutions?” 2017. Resources Policy.
    (with Kilosho Buraye and Marijke Verpoorten) link
  • “Would you rebel? An inquiry among high-risk youth in eastern DRC” Work in progress.
    (with Marijke Verpoorten)

Does the presence of mineral extraction sites increase local conflict events; and does the relationship depend on the operational mode of the site?

In order to study these questions, we make use of geo-referenced data on the location of industrial mining concessions, artisanal mining sites and local conflict events in eastern DRC. So far, this has led to the following research output:

  • “More legislation more violence? The impact of Dodd-Frank in the DRC” 2018. PLoS ONE.
    (with Marijke Verpoorten and Peter van der Windt) link
  • “Trump threatened to suspend the ‘conflict minerals’ provision of Dodd-Frank. That might actually be good for Congo” 2018. The Monkey Cage – Washington Post.
    (with Marijke Verpoorten and Peter van der Windt)
     link
  • “Artisanal or Industrial Conflict Minerals? Evidence from eastern DRC” Work in progress.
    (with Marijke Verpoorten and Peter van der Windt)