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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Marcus Power

Kirshner, J. & Power, M. (2015). Mining and extractive urbanism: Postdevelopment in a Mozambican boomtown. Geoforum 61: 67-78.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Mozambique has attracted international attention in recent years following the discovery of huge reserves of coal and gas deposits. A major focus of Mozambique’s extractives boom is the province of Tete, once a remote outpost but now a hub of power generation for the southern African region and an emerging centre of global investment in coal extraction. Some of the world’s largest mining firms from both established and emerging economies have descended on Tete, investing billions of dollars in developing concessions to extract some of the world’s largest untapped coal reserves with wide-ranging implications for the region’s political economy and effecting significant shifts in relations between state, capital and territorial control. At the urban scale, Tete city and its expanding periphery are increasingly characterised by enclaves and spaces of enclosure, as some groups benefit from and are integrated into global circuits of production whilst others suffer displacement and dispossession. In seeking to trace the emergence of Tete’s resource economy, the paper contends that three distinctive spatialities have resulted from these developments, including the infrastructure networks being constructed around the extractive industries, the enclave spaces arising from the coal boom (and the particular labour geographies that shape them) and the new and distinctive urban geographies that are the product of Tete’s rapid urbanisation. The paper seeks to assess the impacts, stakes and challenges linked to investments in extractive activities and looks at how the costs and risks are being differentially distributed within and between the affected communities.