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Uganda: Gold as a (Trans)National Treasure

Fisher, E., D'Angelo, L., Twongyirwe, R. and van de Camp, E. (2020) Uganda: Gold as a (Trans)National Treasure. In: The Global Gold Production System Touching Ground: Expansion, Technological Innovation and Informalization. Palgrave Macmillan. (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

Despite the potential of its known gold deposits, Uganda has no history of large-scale gold mining. Instead, the story of gold focuses largely on informal artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and on the gold trade that extends through the region. Recent changing global trends in gold investment are stimulating the expansion of both refining and industrial extraction. Here we explore how these trends become articulated in the Ugandan context, with a focus on ASGM. Reflecting nationalistic discourse and new planning priorities, government today characterizes gold as a ‘national treasure’ and an engine for development transformation. To this end, and in line with initiatives promoted by multilateral agencies, it seeks to encourage the industrial sector coupled with the formalisation of small-scale gold mining. These formalisation dynamics are embedded within a context in which a semi-authoritarian regime privileges a (trans)national elite whose interests in gold extend into mining and into (trans)national trade and refining. Against this background, we echo a familiar story where institutional and regulatory capacity is weak, namely that formalisation privileges some gold miners but also reinforces inequalities, undermining potential for equity and discounting the value of the sector for people’s livelihoods.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Livelihoods Research
ID Code:87337
Uncontrolled Keywords:Uganda; gold; artisanal and small-scale gold mining
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan

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