Informal mining labour: economic plurality and household survival strategies

Pryor Placino

Modern-day mining is now highly mechanized and provides regular employment to highly paid workers in many parts of the world. However, there also exist millions of individuals who gain a livelihood from informal, artisanal and small-scale mining. From a diverse economies point of view, mining is as much non-capitalist as it is capitalist. The chapter aims to depart from the binary framing of informality and formality which situates informal mining labour only as ‘other’ to formal work in the capitalist mining industry. The author positions informal mining labour as part of the survival portfolio of poor and landless households to argue for a more dynamic view that opens up different possibilities for livelihood-making. The chapter draws on research with informal miners in the Philippines who quarry mundane materials including construction aggregates to underscore that informal miners are not only involved in the extraction of valuable minerals such as gold, diamonds or coal.

Suggested citation

Placino, P. 2020. Informal mining labour: Economic plurality and household survival strategies. In J. K. Gibson-Graham & K. Dombroski (Eds.), The Handbook of Diverse Economies (pp. 179–185). Edward Elgar Publishing.