Gemstone mining as a development cluster: a study of Brazil's emerald mines

Puppim deOliveria, Jose Antonio and Ali, Saleem H. (2011) Gemstone mining as a development cluster: a study of Brazil's emerald mines. Resources Policy, 36 2: 132-141. doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2010.10.002

Author Puppim deOliveria, Jose Antonio
Ali, Saleem H.
Title Gemstone mining as a development cluster: a study of Brazil's emerald mines
Journal name Resources Policy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0301-4207
Publication date 2011-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.resourpol.2010.10.002
Volume 36
Issue 2
Start page 132
End page 141
Total pages 10
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Abstract For many centuries, emeralds have bejeweled the rich and famous all over the world. Emeralds have also made many millionaires overnight, sometimes by chance, as in some of the cases reported in this study. On the other hand, even though emerald mining has brought some economic benefits, many of these have remained at the top of the production chain. In many cases mining activities have caused a number of negative social and environmental impacts locally. Working conditions in small mines are very poor in general: with bad ventilation, high temperatures, long working hours, lack of safety, informal working contracts and no health or life insurance. Environmental impacts can be significant, such as widespread deforestation, erosion of abandoned mines, and soil and water pollution in streams. The economic and social public benefits can be minimal. Even when taxes on gem mining are relatively low, much of the mining local activity is informal and the high value-added formal activities take place outside the mining regions. This study aims to understand the dynamics of emerald mining and its impact on local development using the concept of clusters. The research analyzes three case studies in Brazil: Campos Verdes/Santa Terezinha (Goias state), Nova Era/Itabira (Minas Gerais state) and Carnaiba/Campo Formoso (Bahia state). Emerald mining regions attract many migrants, increasing the demand for public services (infrastructure, health, education, etc.), but local governments are unable to provide for them because the activity produces little tax revenue. In the end, there is a growing mismatch between demand and supply of public services, leading to a series of social and environmental problems. However, working with the concept of cluster can help to shed light on policies to improve the local benefits of gem mining, by organizing the miners and their supporting organizations to allow investments that bring long term benefits locally.
Keyword Emerald
Small scale mining
Social upgrade
Local development
Latin America
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Created: Tue, 23 Apr 2013, 10:05:53 EST by Saleem Ali on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies