Unequal Partners, Unequal Exchange: Goldcorp, the Mexican State, and Campesino Dispossession at the Peñasquito Goldmine

The new geography of mining in Latin America extends open-pit mining to rural Mexico, with drastic impacts on land, water, and other livelihood resources of peasant societies. This study shows how a Canadian mining company gained access to the land and water resources it needs to operate the Peñasquito mine in northern Zacatecas, how it defused subsequent peasant protest, and acquired great mineral wealth in exchange for minimal compensations to local communities. The role of state agents in brokering negotiations and in interpreting the resulting agreements was particularly significant. Researchers should examine the tactics mining companies use to obtain land and water and to silence peasant protest, as these underlie a broader process of unequal economic and ecological exchange between core and periphery.