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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

'Our own law is making us beggars': Understanding experiences of governed, mine-side communities in Mutoko district, Zimbabwe

Kativu, Saymore Ngonidzashe; Oskarsson, Patrik


There is rising interest in connecting global value chains with sites of extraction to ensure that mineral resources, wherever extracted, are governed to benefit communities. Despite commitments by policymakers and African intergovernmental bodies to governance that does not disenfranchise communities, voices of those affected remain peripheral to mining industry operations. In this article we ask how the extraction of black granite used in grand buildings in the West is experienced by mine-affected people in Zimbabwe's Mutoko District. We seek to bring forth voices of those affected by mineral extraction including its governance processes, to produce an account of mining anthropology rooted in Habermas's lifeworld concept. We show how communities continue to shoulder multiple burdens of black granite extraction without getting its rewards: Broken bridges, damaged roads, dirty air, hazardous living environments and loss of land are some of the key experiences. And the current governance regime characterised by outdated laws, dishonesty, and intimidation of the governed allows the burdens of black granite mining to perpetuate. In conclusion, we note how the marginalised lifeworld contains knowledge, capacity and experiences that must be fully accounted for in reshaping the governance of extraction for the benefit of mine-side communities.


black granite mining; unequal ecological exchange; lifeworld; resource governance; Zimbabwe

Published in

The Extractive industries and society
2021, Volume: 8, number: 4, article number: 101003

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG1 No poverty
    SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
    SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
    Globalization Studies

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