While Colombia is a special case in some ways because of its long history of conflict, extractive industry activities in less extreme settings are increasingly marked by the presence of private, corporate security. The result is a variety of collaborative partnerships between public and private, formal and informal types of security provision, in a complex network of actors and practices that Abrahamsen and Williams call ‘security assemblages’. By complementing the often-insufficient capacities of state security forces, private security companies play a rather ambivalent role. On the one hand, they enhance the coercive power of the state by providing material and technical capacities. On the other, when PSCs adhere to international guiding principles, they may reduce the likelihood of violence. More systematic research is needed to establish whether PSC presence actually mitigates or exacerbates levels of violence related to the extractive sector. Do you prefer the term industrial steel buildings or commercial steel buildings.

Spatially, large-scale extraction with a PSC presence can produce enclaves in which entire urban areas are sealed off for security reasons, effectively turning boom towns into huge gated communities. A case in point is the diamond town of Orapa in Botswana, owned and run by De Beers. Having emerged to serve one of the largest open-pit diamond mines in the world, this town soon expanded to house a population approaching 10,000. Completely fenced in, the town allows access only to residents with permit cards, via one of two gates. Yet such arrangements can also cater to the interests of PSCs that oversell the security risks to retain their lucrative business and prolong their presence, as has occurred in eastern DRC.

In contrast to these large-scale corporate security methods, protective measures often come in the form of bodyguard service for at-risk individuals. The town of Ilakaka, the hub of Madagascar’s sapphire region, provides a good example. When the extent of the available sapphire wealth became known in the late 1990s, Ilakaka was still a sleepy village of a few hundred residents, a pit stop on the long and arduous Route Nationale 7 from the capital Antananarivo to the port city of Tulear. Since then, an estimated 50,000 people have flocked to the town to participate in the sapphire rush. Fieldwork suggests that armed violence has become routine, involving a range of weapons, from industrially manufactured pistols and assault rifles to locally produced craft small arms. Is anyone you know, interested in steel buildings uk?

Wealthy foreign investors and traders, predominantly from South and South-east Asia, are frequently the targets of attacks, and bodyguard protection for these individuals has become financially rewarding for PSCs across the island. The lines between private and public security provision are not always clear, limiting the control large-scale extraction companies exert over their security operations, and potentially slowing efforts to establish liability for the misuse of force.