Illicit dendritic flows of gold, money, jewellery, and mercury

Authors: Martin Lukas*, University of Bremen, Sustainabilty Research Center (artec)
Topics: Natural Resources, Development, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: gold mining, resource extraction, political ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Stones Throw 2 - Slate, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

A massive gold and diamond rush, triggered by political-economic change, market developments, and technological innovation, has drastically transformed riverine landscapes, induced migration, and provided substantial wealth in parts of Kalimantan. Artisanal gold and diamond mining has grown into a major economic sector over the past three decades, fuelled economic developments, and provided livelihoods to tens of thousands of people, but is largely considered illegal. I will provide insight into the illicit flows of gold, diamonds, money, jewellery, mercury, and information, and the hidden networks of political-economic power directing them. These flows and networks are spatially and hierarchically aligned to the dendritic river network and occasionally reshaped by technological change, raids, and migration. Power built on the flows of gold and diamonds, hidden flows of money, and entrenched ideologies impede a change of the formal status quo and prevent the gold rush and its effects from being governable.

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