Planetary Mine
Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism
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288 pages / January 2020 / 9781788732963
January 2020 / 9781788732987

A clarion call to rethink natural resource extraction beyond the extractive industries

Planetary Mine rethinks the politics and territoriality of resource extraction, especially as the mining industry becomes reorganized in the form of logistical networks, and East Asian economies emerge as the new pivot of the capitalist world-system. Through an exploration of the ways in which mines in the Atacama Desert of Chile—the driest in the world—have become intermingled with an expanding constellation of megacities, ports, banks, and factories across East Asia, the book rethinks uneven geographical development in the era of supply chain capitalism. Arguing that extraction entails much more than the mere spatiality of mine shafts and pits, Planetary Mine points towards the expanding webs of infrastructure, of labor, of finance, and of struggle, that drive resource-based industries in the twenty-first century.


“Martín Arboleda’s Planetary Mine offers a masterful re-theorization of the political economy of territoriality, logistics, state sovereignty, and primary commodity production. This is a powerful exploration of what we might call “actually existing global capitalism.” Theoretically fresh and politically compelling, Planetary Mine is destined to be a classic.”

“Planetary Mine exquisitely excavates the network and relations that connect the lives of workers in extraction sites to global financial architectures, logistical assemblages, migrating bodies, hungry capitalists, and recalcitrant activists. It robustly debunks the myth of life in a post-material world and charts multiple paths to transforming the uneven and combined geographies of extraction in emancipatory directions. A real eye-opener and instant classic.”

“This is a phenomenal book. Martín Arboleda has given us an illuminating work that traces the remaking of the global mining sector in an age of logistical machines, planetary circulatory systems, and Imperialism 'after the West'. With conceptual facility and an inspiring clarity, Planetary Mine offers an engrossing portrait of extractive supply chains and the infrastructures that underpin them. Working across networked front lines, and thinking with diverse and generative literatures, this landmark work insists that we must refuse the social and ecological destruction of extractivism, and shows us how and where that struggle is already underway.”

“A breathtaking account of the violence of – and resistance to – extractive capitalism. With Planetary Mine, Martin Arboleda has given us an extraordinarily provocative and original study of capital, power, and nature in an age of planetary crisis. It will be a point of reference for years to come.”

“In Planetary Mine, Latin America and Asia get closer together as they become entangled through the Pacific Ocean as the new axis of the world-economy. An entire geography of extraction—developed by Chile, the proverbial laboratory of the Chicago Boys—casts into new light the systemic question of the imperial technologies of the present, the dynamics of labor exploitation, and the machineries of everyday life that underpin them. In this book, the mine emerges as a strategic site in which port infrastructure, finance, urban development, and robotization come together, revealing the logics and extractive mechanisms that actualize contemporary neoliberalism. But this geography also enables further excavations: it demonstrates that the conflicts that sabotage and confront such an appropriation of knowledge and of social wealth can produce other types of value and challenge the frontiers of capital.”

Planetary Mine rethinks global development in terms of world political climate and geography.”

“There is great depth to Martín Arboleda’s Planetary Mine that will benefit future critical investigation into the wide-ranging tentacles of extraction for years to come … Planetary Mine challenges readers to move beyond the site of extraction itself and consider how and why it ‘comes into being in the first place.’”

“Monographs on extraction tend to focus either on the elite worlds of private firms, political repression, and high finance—or on the grassroots mobilization of local communities. Planetary Mine does both. Arboleda’s interrogation of exploitation is matched in intensity by his fidelity to the ‘dream images of the technological landscapes of tomorrow.’ Utopias are nowhere to be found in the bleak present, but their ingredients are everywhere we look.”

“Exceptionally ambitious … Arboleda offers a series of original and penetrating theoretical reflections on revolutionary subjectivity in Chile, and Latin America more widely, given the novel features of the modes of existence of labor running through the economies of extraction … There are few better guides than Planetary Mine to the possible economic and technological futures of Latin American likely to emerge in the wake of COVID-19. [This] remarkable first book has few peers in theoretical ambition and range among the Anglophone offerings on extractive capitalism.”

“A lucid and timely investigation into the turbulent spatialities of supply chain capitalism.”

“A tour de force … Arboleda demonstrates an astounding grasp of parallel debates within Marxist theory in particular and great skill at being able to deftly weave them together into a structure that reads remarkably well given its theoretical scope.”

“Our central task, then, Arboleda suggests, is to build transnational networks of solidarity that are capable of connecting the low-wage office, the service industry, and other exploited workers to the communities of farmers, miners, and migrants forced to power the machinery of extraction in order to feed their familiesd. Only this planetary-scale collective agent, Arboleda suggests, can offer a counterpart to comfort that is capable of disrupting the planetary mine.”

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