Author: Samuel J. Spiegel
Title: Managing Small-Scale Gold Mining and Diverse Rural Development Dynamics: Insights from Cambodia
ISBN: 1 900522 26 8
A variety of recent policy conferences addressing resource extraction and rural development in Asia have highlighted the need for rigorous interdisciplinary research on the challenges of managing artisanal and small-scale mining. While much has been written about how rural communities can be negatively impacted by mining, very little research in Asia has focused on the diversities of rural socioeconomic challenges among populations of small-scale miners or on institutional options for regulating mining groups that have long operated outside regulatory frameworks. This article examines the complexities of addressing unlicensed gold mining in Cambodia, focusing on the linkages between rural livelihood dynamics, environmental goals, legal concerns and institutional dilemmas in particular areas where resource access has been negotiated by different groups, including local Khmer mining communities, migrant miners and large and medium-scale companies. Drawing on cases in two provinces, Kratie and Ratanakiri, the study examines why a nuanced approach is needed that takes into account multiple types of extraction activity and multiple perspectives on how rural stakeholder participation could work in the extractive sector. The article analyzes policy options to sensitively address rural development dynamics in mining areas, suggesting key roles that future research can play in generating useful contextual knowledge that can help improve resource regulation, rural livelihood support services and regional land use planning.