When Gold Speaks, Every Tongue Is Silent
The Thin Line Between Legal, Illegal, and Informal in Peru’s Gold Supply Chain
This chapter discusses the Peruvian gold market from a supply chain perspective, studying the roles played by different actors as well as their interactions in the transformation of raw materials into consumer goods, and their subsequent distribution to consumers. Building on criminological theories focusing on legal–illegal interfaces, and sociological theories concerned with the informal economy, we look beyond the social and environmental consequences of illegal gold mining and examine how illegal gold was integrated into the gold supply chain in Peru in the period of 2016–2018. Our analysis builds on interviews with key informants, combined with a document analysis and field observations. In addition, a crime script analysis is conducted to achieve a detailed description of the Peruvian gold market. Our findings demonstrate how legal, illegal, and informal activities are intertwined. This allows us to make several observations about the (in)effectiveness of the state’s policy on gold mining in Peru and contribute to the growing body of literature on the formation and expansion of illicit markets.