The gold, peoples and multiple frontiers of French Guiana

Jébrak, Michel; Heuret, Arnauld et Rostan, Pierre (2021). « The gold, peoples and multiple frontiers of French Guiana ». The Extractive Industries and Society, 8, pp. 8-22.

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French Guiana is well endowed with gold like its neighbours in the Proterozoic Guiana Shield, yet it has no industrial mines, and most of the current production comes from illegal Brazilian miners. This situation is rooted in the history of its extractive frontiers, which began with the discovery of gold in 1855. French Guiana experienced two gold rushes influenced by the price of gold, first during the gold standard period, the second during the Chinese supercycle. The first wave of diverse ethnic groups searching for El Dorado came mainly from the Caribbean and Metropolitan France. Most companies did not survive the lack of infrastructure, the harsh rainforest conditions, and the end of the gold standard. After 1910, the frontier disintegrated due to the remoteness of the mine sites and the State’s inability to control the territory. The current commodity frontier is a combination of an industrial front driven by French and international investments in the Northern Belt, and an artisanal illegal infiltration of Brazilian garimpeiros moving north of the Amazonian front. The shallowness of the commodity frontier results of unfavourable environmental conditions, the sparse population relative to land, the disconnect between the Paris-driven political system.

Type: Article de revue scientifique
Mots-clés ou Sujets: French Guyana, Gold deposits, Frontier, History
Unité d'appartenance: Faculté des sciences > Département des sciences de la Terre et de l'atmosphère
Déposé par: Michel Jébrak
Date de dépôt: 09 août 2021 08:25
Dernière modification: 09 août 2021 08:25
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