By Penda Diallo
March 21, 2017
Republished from ScienceDirect
- In the absence of state support, artisanal mining has become the main source of revenue for rural communities.
- Artisanal diamond mining has been able to gainfully occupy a large number of rural, unskilled workers.
- Social insecurity led to the emergence of a circumstantial permissive social contract.
- Stability and social insecurity can only coexist if there is a circumstantial permissive social contract.
The period of protracted conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia brought the politics of alluvial diamond mining in West Africa to the forefront of academic and policy-oriented discussions. Using social contract theory, this paper moves away from discussions on how minerals have perpetuated conflict in the region, and interrogates how the governance of diamond mining in Guinea impacts regime stability and social insecurity. More importantly, it attempts to illustrate how artisanal diamond mining contributes to stability. The paper situates this discussion within the broad spectrum of the social contract between state and citizens and an analysis of how these are at play in diamond mining areas. It illustrates how artisanal diamond mining enables specific social contracts to emerge and how this in turn contributes to stability in the regions where they are extracted.