Edmore Mwandiringana is a PhD candidate at the College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University. My research interests include inter lia, land politics, rural politics, peasant (rural and urban) struggles and agrarian sociology. I hold a Master of Public Management degree from Tsinghua University (China) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Administration from the University of Zimbabwe. I am a Zimbabwean national and am thirty-seven years old. I am married with two children. I have been serving in the Zimbabwe Civil Service since 2006.
Artisanal Mining; A Viable Livelihood Alternative For Rural Youths?
This study examines the viability of artisanal mining as a livelihood alternative for youths in rural areas. It argues that agriculture is no longer viable for young people in Zimbabwe owing to limited agriculture finance, perennial drought and erratic rainfall which have affected production and subsequently profitability of agriculture. Although the State introduced heterodox economic policies meant to bolster agricul tural production in the country, the majority of youths have not benefited from State intervention. As such, youths have turned to artisanal mining as a livelihood alternative. This study argues that despite the young people’s new focus on artisanal mining, the State has been blocking the youth from actively participating in and benefiting from artisanal mining. It highlights the exploitation of young people by political leaders, government officials and the bourgeoisie. The State has been systematically side-lining youths from artisanal mining through exorbitant prospecting and pegging fees as well as the issuance of blanket Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs). Furthermore, prospecting licence and pegging fees are charged in foreign currency thereby shutting the door on rural youths. Therefore, rural youths are exploited as labourers by the classes of capital composed of wealthy businessmen and politicians who hold mining claims in the country. Although the youth are the ones who work under harsh and risky conditions, they get very little from artisanal mining. Therefore, rural youths remain disenfranchised despite residing in the areas from which the mineral resources are being extracted.
Keywords: Artisanal mining; capital accumulation; proletariat; social differentiation; exploitation
Affiliation: China Agricultural University, China