Fluid formalities: insights on small-scale gold mining dynamics, informal practices, and mining governance in Guyana

Hook, Andrew (2019) Fluid formalities: insights on small-scale gold mining dynamics, informal practices, and mining governance in Guyana. Resources Policy, 62. pp. 324-338. ISSN 0301-4207

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Abstract

Despite the existence of one of the most comprehensive and progressive formal frameworks for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in the world, the majority of gold mining within Guyana's vast landscape nonetheless appears to drift perpetually towards what could be understood as ‘informal’ activity. These divergences from institutional form appear rooted in a diverse set of explanations, including actors' shared demands for a flexibility that the current institutional framework cannot provide, broader structural socio-economic conditions, and plain opportunism. Moreover, rather than representing harmful transgressions of institutional function, expressions of informality can often be relatively benign in their effects, depending on their nature and temporal emergence within the mining process. The findings from this article therefore suggest that states could do as Guyana has largely done and focus on pragmatic governance approaches that seek to address the most egregious expressions of informality while being prepared to regularize locally-responsive governance modalities as they emerge. As the ‘worst’ impacts of informality in Guyana are arguably those in which state actors are complicit, it is however clear that civil society and researchers have an important role to play in building a better picture of how mining actually takes place – and in highlighting why (and when) divergences from institutional form need addressing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Small-scale gold mining, Formalization, Guyana, Governance, Temporality
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences > GE170 Environmental policy
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences > GE300 Environmental management
H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0079 Special topics, A-Z > HC0079.E5 Environmental policy and economic development. Sustainable development Including environmental economics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0085 Natural resources
H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0094 America > HC0121 Latin America > HC0161 South America
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC319 Political geography
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Depositing User: Andrew Hook
Date Deposited: 30 May 2019 13:01
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 13:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84035

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