Global Mining and the Uneasy Neoliberalization of Sustainable Development
As transnational mining firms have sought to position themselves as drivers of sustainable development, a key component of their efforts has been the implementation of social development programs in their areas of operation. This paper situates the expansion of corporate-led development in the mining sector as part of an ongoing reconfiguration of the frameworks and processes through which mineral production is governed, interpreting such initiatives as illustrative of “roll-out” neoliberalization. Based on an analysis of firm-led development at the Pierina gold mine in Andean Peru, I explore how the mining company has been able to advance a version of sustainability broadly compatible with contemporary large-scale mining. Taking on the role of development agent, however, is not an uncomplicated endeavor in that it has left the firm subject to escalating development claims from nearby populations. In this context, I raise the question of whether the mining industry’s adoption of notions of partnership and participation amounts to a strategy for diffusing responsibility when necessary and deflecting the claims of affected communities.
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