Between the plough and the pick: informal mining in the contemporary world

Crawford School of Public Policy | Resources, Environment and Development Group

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 05 November 2015 to Friday 06 November 2015


Lecture Theatre 1 (APCD Theatre), Ground floor, Hedley Bull Centre, Building 130, Cnr Garran Rd and Liversidge St, ANU


Professor Saleem Ali, University of Queensland; Professor Nancy Peluso, University of California, Berkeley; Professor Gavin Hilson, University of Surrey; Dr Deborah Fahy Bryceson, University of Edinburgh; plus many more.


Dr Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
6125 4343

Millions of people in economically poor countries are engaged in mineral extractive practices today. These informal extractive practices have been described as Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM), described here as informal mining. Those who engage in these practices are often the poorest and most exploited labourers, performing the most insecure and dangerous tasks. They produce enormous amounts of mineral resources and in the process establish a livelihood (and often a path out of poverty).

These miners are inextricably engaged with global commodity values and supply chains, and are intimately involved in the production of new extractive territories and rural economies. Their labour re-shapes agrarian communities and landscapes of resource access and control. Collectively, these miners have also been redefining our understanding of the political economies, political ecologies, and resource geographies of commodity extraction. This social and economic milieu holds significant implications for scholarly understandings of contemporary mineral-dependent livelihoods, agrarian transitions, informality, and the social meanings of destitution and poverty.

You are invited to participate in this international conference that aims to engage with the themes around agrarian transition, the political ecology of mineral extraction, the global processes driving the informalisation of mining, the roles played by local social-political-historical context, and aspects of labour processes. The conference will also disseminate the results of two ARC research projects on investigating informal mining in India, Indonesia and Lao PDR: ‘Beyond the Resource Curse’ (Discovery Project, led by Dr Kuntala Lahiri- Dutt) and ‘Going for Gold’ (Linkage Project, led by Dr Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt and Dr Keith Barney).

More information about the two projects:

Please note conference registration will take place in Springbank & Canberry Room, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing at 5pm on Wednesday 4 November.

Updated:  22 April 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team