Eureka and Beyond: Mining's Impact on African Urbanisation
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This collection brings separate literatures on mining and urbanisation together at a time when both artisanal and large-scale mining are expanding in many African economies. While much has been written about contestation over land and mineral rights, the impact of mining on settlement, notably its catalytic and fluctuating effects on migration and urban growth, has been largely ignored. African nation-states’ urbanisation trends have shown considerable variation over the past half century. The current surge in ‘new’ mining countries and the slow-down in ‘old’ mining countries are generating some remarkable settlement patterns and welfare outcomes. Presently, the African continent is a laboratory of national mining experiences. This special issue on African mining and urbanisation encompasses a wide cross-section of country case studies: beginning with the historical experiences of mining in Southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe), followed by more recent mineralizing trends in comparatively new mineral-producing countries (Tanzania) and an established West African gold producer (Ghana), before turning to the influence of conflict minerals (Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone).