Transnational Mining Corporations and Sustainable Resource‐Based Livelihoods in Sierra Leone

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mining, sustainable livelihoods, Sierra Leone, gender, world systems theory

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This paper draws from world‐systems and sustainable livelihoods approaches to analyze the connections between multinational exports of rutile (titanium oxide), diminished ecological resources and resource‐based livelihoods, and gendered household dynamics in a peripheralized mining region in Sierra Leone. The discussion focuses on how the extraction of mineral resources instigated by exogenous capital investors forces links to household transformation, particularly the vulnerability context of women. Using archival records and field survey data, the case study of rutile mining in southwestern Sierra Leone connects the low‐waged mining labour of traditional resource‐based subsistence communities and deepening marginalization of and financial pressures on women in mining households to global mineral markets. The study focuses on women's coping mechanisms that are embedded within traditional social networks in relation to an external intervention, a low‐tech mechanical cassava grater, intended to strengthen their livelihoods. It finds that the potential for this transformation is impeded by sociocultural, environmental and financial limitations.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, v. 32, issue 1, p. 53-70