This chapter addresses rural–urban transformations in the Kivu provinces, DRC, and more particularly focuses on the complex relationship between dynamics of violent conflict and the emergence of urban mining ‘boomtowns’. Mining towns offer fascinating sites from which to investigate the socioeconomic and spatial effects of a protracted history of violence, displacement and militarisation.

Moreover, this chapter demonstrates how they are interesting spatial as well as analytical starting points from which to study the political geographies of war dynamics in Eastern DRC. It will be argued that the reason why these mining towns evolve into strategic ‘resources’ in violent struggles for power and control is to be found in their urban character as much as in the presence of natural resources.