The New Eldorado: Organized Crime Informal Mining and the Global Scarcity of Metals and Minerals

Yuliya Zabyelina, Daan van Uhm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter introduces the topic of convergence between organized crime and the mining industry. The alluring nature of precious metals and minerals is highlighted and set against the modern-day global rush not only for gold, diamonds, and amber but also industrial materials, such as iron ore, coal, and sand. It is noted how environmental crimes, such as illegal mining, have become important sources of illicit revenues for organized crime groups (OCGs). The diversification of organized crime into illegal mining and trafficking in mined commodities is argued to be an important transformational feature of contemporary entrepreneurial criminal organizations, which have shown great interest in and ability to adapt to changing socioeconomic and ecological circumstances. It is emphasized that the explosive growth of illegal mining is embedded in other criminal activities including drug trafficking, trafficking in persons (TIP), armed violence, and ecocide. An outline of the book’s structure is provided, along with a description of the how the collection contributes to the academic and policy literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIllegal Mining: Organized Crime, Corruption, and Ecocide in a Resource-Scarce World
EditorsYuliya Zabyelina, Daan van Uhm
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030463274
ISBN (Print)9783030463267
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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