The COVID-19 pandemic exposes both conflict and cooperation in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the Brazilian Amazon. Reporting on the experiences of artisanal and small-scale gold miners (garimpeiros, in Brazilian Portuguese), we show how, on the one hand, the pandemic challenges an already precarious working system that could lead garimpeiros, often invisible to public policies, to positions of further vulnerability; and, on the other hand, highlights the capacity of garimpeiros to self-organize and navigate the difficulties by finding alternative solutions to cope with the crisis. This leads us to argue that emerging strategies of cooperation, related to self-organization and communication channels have the potential to provide experiences useful for processes of conflict transformation in the post-crisis. We acknowledge that much depends on the severity of the crisis and its manifestations in the region; nevertheless, the potential for constructive outcomes from the crisis should not be disregarded.
- Artisanal and small-scale mining