Minescapes as spaces of both dependence and contestation: The Combayo conflict in Cajamarca, Peru

M. Sosa Landeo, M.Z. Zwarteveen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Minescapes are playing fields of contestation, negotiations and struggle, as well as sites for the construction of relations of power and dependence between different actors. Understanding minescapes with frames of dichotomous interpretation that see people as either being pro or against mines results in simplifications that fail to do justice to their complexity and that are of little use for supporting peasant communities in dealing with mines. Communities simultaneously have multiple sources of income and livelihood strategies, some of which imply an identification with and dependence on the mine while others are threatened by this, and resist to it. Using the case of the Combayo conflict, in Cajamarca, Peru, I argue, that understanding minescapes requires a more multi-layered analysis, one which tries to do justice to the actors' perspectives, their claims, actions and interactions. In Combayo, the presence of the large gold mine company Yanacocha has created tensions and conflicts, involving concerns about water, work and about development more broadly. The case became dramatically famous because of the death of a peasant during protests against Yanacocha. The peasants were unfairly accused (and brought to court) of having kidnapped some mine workers, something that filled them with frustration and fear of being send to prison with a potential verdict of 30 years. The conflict escalated so much that even the Prime Minister intervened. In the paper, I describe the conflict, focusing on how the relations of dependence between peasants communities and the mine shape the spaces for action of both parties
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventGeographies of Extractive Industries I: Territory -
Duration: 26 Jun 201226 Jun 2012


ConferenceGeographies of Extractive Industries I: Territory


Dive into the research topics of 'Minescapes as spaces of both dependence and contestation: The Combayo conflict in Cajamarca, Peru'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this