Accepted paper:

Technologies of gold mining in Morales' Bolivia: cooperatives, process organization, and the protection of the Amazon

Authors:

Ton Salman (VU University Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

The aim is to tell the story about how various factors in Bolivia came together to result in a technological and organizational constellation that is peculiar and at the same time illustrative for the complexity and multilayeredness of small scale gold mining in the Amazon region.

Paper long abstract:

Ton Salman, a.j.salman@vu.nl (Member of the research group Gold Mining in the Amazon (GOMIAM), coordinated by Marjo de Theije, based at CEDLA Amsterdam, see http://www.gomiam.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=27) Technologies of gold mining in Morales' Bolivia: cooperatives, process organization, and the protection of the Amazon Small scale gold mining is still booming worldwide, in spite of diminishing price levels for gold in recent months. The actors and stakeholders, the techniques and successes, the demographic, environmental and health consequences differ from country to country and from place to place. In this paper the focus will be on a specific but telling case study, the alluvial small scale gold mining in northern Bolivia, in the Madre de Dios River. The aim is to tell the story about how various factors came together to result in a technological and organizational constellation that is peculiar and at the same time illustrative for the complexity and multilayeredness of small scale gold mining in the Amazon region. Here enter Bolivia's history of vivid grass root organization, the current political setting in which pro-poor and even socialist policies sit uneasy with pro-environment discourses, the life history of a mining cooperative, and the ways in which organizational characteristics are reflected in social stratification and labor division both on and off the gold mining pontoons in the river that crosses the Bolivian Amazon from west to east. Hence, the aim is to reflect upon how technical and political conditions have impact on the interlinkages between actors both on and involved with the pontoon mining.

panel P031
Mining technology: practices, knowledge and materials across and beyond the mines