The last decade and a half has witnessed a dramatic growth in mining activity in many developing countries. This article reviews these recent trends and describes the debates and conflicts they have triggered. The authors review evidence regarding debates on the resource curse and the possibility of an extraction-led pathway to development. They then describe the different types of resistance and social mobilization that have greeted mineral expansion at a range of geographical scales, and consider how far these protests have changed the relationships between mining and political economic change. The conclusions address how far such protests might contribute to an ‘escape’ from the resource curse, and consider implications for research and policy agendas.