ARTISANAL AND SMALL-SCALE MINING
THE MINING, MINERALS ANDSUSTAINABLEDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
building and the provision of immediate incentives.These may come in the form of tangible economic or health benefits or alternative livelihood opportunities.Efforts must also consider the broader objectives of sustainable rural development.The chapter is based on a summary of a global reporton ASM commissioned by MMSD.In addition thechapter draws on 18 country studies commissioned byMMSD (on Bolivia,Brazil,Burkina Faso,China,Ecuador,Ghana,India,Indonesia,Malawi,Mali,Mozambique,Papua New Guinea,Peru,Philippines,South Africa,Tanzania,Zambia,Zimbabwe) as well asthe outputs of a regional and global workshop hostedby MMSD.The country studies provide a moredetailed understanding of the legal status of artisanaland small-scale miners;the status,role,and importanceof ASM in a country;specific support activities for thesector;and interactions between small-scale miners andlarge exploration and mining companies.
Characteristics and Products of ASM
There is as yet no widely accepted definition of artisanal and small-scale mining.The term can be usedto cover a broad spectrum of activities – from thearmy-run Hpakant jade mines in Myanmar,for example,to individual
panning for gold inremote regions of the Brazilian Amazon,as well asformer state mining company workers or laid off private-company employees who have organizedthemselves into cooperatives.
At the other end of thescale,particularly in industrial countries,are manyquite sophisticated industrialized small-scale miningactivities.This chapter largely focuses on artisanal andsmall-scale mining in developing countries that use themost basic methods for extraction and processing.The broadest distinction – and the one followed here – is between artisanal mining,which may involve onlyindividuals or families and is purely manual,and small-scale mining,which is more extensive and usuallymore mechanized.Another distinction is in the natureof miners’rights to the land.In some instances,small-scale miners have legal title to the land that they work,which is recognized by the state and others.In other cases,they work land they have traditionally inhabitedbut without any recognition of land rights from thestate,or they may be working the land informally andregarded as illegal squatters by local and stateauthorities.Of the two groups,artisanal miners aremore likely to be working without legal mining title.But artisanal and small-scale miners also share manycharacteristics,broadly speaking:•They exploit marginal or small deposits.•They lack capital.•They are labour-intensive,with low rates of recovery.•They have poor access to markets and supportservices.•They have low standards of safety and health.•They have a significant impact on the environment.
Who Are Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners?
Most of these miners – men,women,or children – arerural and poor.In such countries as Bolivia,Colombia,Indonesia,Mali,the Philippines,and Zimbabwe,theyoften come from communities that have a longtradition of small-scale mining.But they are notnecessarily involved in this full-time.Artisanal minersoften work seasonally:in Malawi,for instance,subsistence farmers mine gemstones in the dry seasonwhen there is less agricultural work.People may alsotake up mining as a last resort during periods of economic recession – as has happened in Bolivia,Peru,Venezuela,and Zimbabwe.Many other people cansuddenly be drawn into mining following thediscovery of new mineral reserves,as with gold or diamond ‘rushes’during which thousands of peoplehope to make their fortunes.Examples of this includeSerra Pelada in Brazil (gold),Mt.Kare in Papua NewGuinea (gold),Ilakakain in Madagascar (sapphire),andNambija in Ecuador (gold).ASM activities can alsofollow environmental shocks,as occurred in SouthernEcuador following the 1985 El Niño.
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