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Infrastructure and mining conflict in greater Central Asia

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Troy Sternberg
Chairs: Troy Sternberg


As infrastructure in greater Central Asia moves from artisanal mining to gold mines, transport corridors and mega-projects under the aegis of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, conflict has followed. From the landmark settlement of the Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia case in March, 2019 to the August, 2019 stone throwing and mine invasion melee at Solton-Sary, Kyrgyzstan, dispute and mediation are at the centre of community concerns and research foci. Whilst mineral extraction and infrastructure are physical endeavors, they are also policy, governance and socio-economic concerns. How communities, companies and governments (dis)engage directly leads to conflict or resolution.

This session addresses the themes of mining, infrastructure and rural development as framed by issues of contestation and mediation at multiple scales. Papers engaging with infrastructure dispute - physical causes, community activities, policy dimensions through social outcomes - are welcome. How conflicts are dealt with, domestic framing, international angles and communities as instigators or pawns are topical themes. Equally, establishing fact and addressing uncertainty can lead to dispute engagement, mediation models and mitigating troubles. Considering the broader region from Mongolia to the Caspian, the session is an inclusive foray into infrastructure and mining’s transformative role in Central Asia.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Galen Murton*, James Madison University, The Power of Blank Spaces: A Critical Cartography of China’s Belt and Road Initiative 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Troy Sternberg*, University of Oxford, Fiona McConnell, University of Oxford, Ariell Ahearn, University of Oxford, Conflict and contestation in Kyrgyz mining infrastructure 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Sara Jackson*, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Awakening the Gobi? Euphoric Moments, Mining, and Soft Infrastructure in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Jesse Swann-Quinn*, Syracuse University, Extraction, Roads, and Geopolitical Infrastructure in the South Caucasus 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Marissa Smith*, , Continuities and Contradictions: Mongolia, Russia, and the Belt and Road Initiative, Again 15 12:00 AM

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