Artisanal or Industrial Conflict Minerals? Evidence from Eastern Congo


Year: 2019 HiCN Working Paper No. 308

Existing research suggests a strong link between mining and local conflict but makes no distinction between artisanal and industrial mining. We exploit variation in mineral prices and the granting of industrial mining concessions to investigate how the mode of extraction affects conflict in Eastern Congo. Rising mineral prices increase battles over artisanal mines, indicating competition between armed groups. This effect is much less pronounced for industrial mining. Moreover, the expansion of industrial mining decreases battles, suggesting that companies can secure their concessions. Such expansion does, however, trigger riots, and when it crowds out artisanal mining, also increases violence against civilians and looting. In line with case-study evidence, these negative effects only materialize when industrial mining companies expand their activities from the research to the production phase.

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