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ANU Crawford School of Public Policy presents


The gold and diamond rush in Kalimantan – Illicit dendritic flows of gold, money, jewellery, and mercury


Indonesia Study Group Seminar


26th February 2020
12.30 - 14.00


Coombs Seminar Room E, Coombs Building 9, Fellows Road, The ANU


Martin C. Lukas, University of Bremen



A massive gold and diamond rush, triggered by market developments, political‐economic change, and technological innovation, has drastically transformed riverine landscapes, induced migration, and provided substantial wealth in parts of Kalimantan. Artisanal gold mining has grown into a major economic sector over the past three decades, fuelled economic developments, and provided livelihoods to tens of thousands of people, but is largely considered illegal.

The seminar will provide insight into the illicit flows of gold, money, jewelry, mercury, and information and the hidden networks of political‐economic power directing them. These flows and networks are spatially and hierarchically aligned to the dendritic river network and occasionally reshaped by technological change, raids, and migration. Power built on the flows of gold, hidden flows of money, and entrenched ideologies impede a change of the formal status quo and prevent the gold rush and its effects from being governable.

Martin C. Lukas is a post‐doctoral researcher at the University of Bremen, Germany. He presently conducts a research stay at the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography. His interdisciplinary research analyses the material, discursive, and socio‐political dimensions of environmental issues and changes and links them to changes in resources use, access, and control, and related conflicts and governance regimes in the context of political‐economic developments. He thereby puts emphasis on incorporating historical trajectories and works across scales. His research of the past years has focused on land use, conflicts over land and forest resources, and watershed governance in Java and Sumatra, and on gold and diamond mining and conflicts over nature protection in Kalimantan.

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