This article highlights the importance of studying the politics of time in the copper and cobalt mining sector of south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where a tense coexistence can be observed between artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and large-scale mining (LSM). It is argued that inequality in ASM-LSM settings not only manifests itself spatially but also temporally. Faced with an uncertain future, ASM and LSM actors do not have the same capacity to control time and plan their futures. Drawing on data from several rounds of ethnographic fieldwork in Katanga’s mining areas between 2005 and 2022, the article advocates an approach which pays more attention to issues of time and temporality in places where large-scale forms of mineral extraction clash with small-scale ones.

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