Analyzing a deadly confrontation to understand the roots of conflict in artisanal and small-scale mining: A case study from Arequipa, Peru

Aaron Malone, Nicole M. Smith, Eliseo Zeballos Zeballos, Rolando Quispe Aquino, Ubaldo Tapia Huamaní, Jerónimo Miguel Gutiérrez Soncco, Guido Salas, Zacarias Madariaga Coaquira, Jose Herrera Bedoya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Conflicts around large-scale mining are common and widely researched, but artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) features sparingly in the mining conflict literature, despite the prevalence of ASM conflicts. This paper examines ASM conflicts, focusing on a central case study from Arequipa, Peru, where violence between rival ASM groups and a mining company resulted in 15 deaths between 2020 and 2022. We leverage this extraordinary case to illuminate underlying issues. The central research question is: what structural factors around ASM in Peru set the stage for disputes, conflicts, and violence? We focus on three factors, concluding that (1) ASM's near-exclusion from owning mining concessions leads to informal arrangements and/or unauthorized access that catalyse many conflicts; (2) formalization models for ASM have done little to resolve access disputes, instead muddying the waters; and (3) multifaceted state weakness in relation to ASM contributes to perpetuation of might-makes-right dynamics. The research focuses on a single conflict from southern Peru, but the insights derived hold relevance throughout Peru and in other countries with significant ASM sectors and associated conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101274
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Artisanal and small-scale mining
  • Conflict
  • Formalization
  • Mining concession
  • State weakness

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