The politics of time at the ASM-LSM interface in southeastern D.R. of Congo

Advanced economies strongly depend on imports of metallic minerals such as tantalum, niobium, cobalt, gold, tungsten and copper. Although these minerals are mainly produced through large- scale mining (LSM), a substantial part of the worlds mineral production also originates from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). As a result of the spectacular growth in emerging economies like China and India, recent years have witnessed an unprecedented rise in demand for raw materials. This, in turn, has given rise to growing tensions between ASM and LSM operators, who, in many places, are competing for access to the same mineral-bearing land. Faced with an uncertain future, ASM and LSM actors fight with unequal arms. They do not have the same capacity to control time and plan their futures. The proposed research project starts from the observation that issues of time and temporality have been largely overlooked in the existing academic literature about the antagonism between ASM and LSM. Aiming to fill this gap in the literature, the project seeks to investigate how the politics of time shapes the interaction between ASM and LSM actors in settings where the two forms of mining co-occur. This will be done through an in-depth ethnographic case study of a copper and cobalt mining concession in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.