Artisanal and Small-Scaling Mining in West and Central Africa: Strategic Lessons from the Field

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Artisanal and Small-Scaling Mining in West and Central Africa: Strategic Lessons from the Field

Theatre 1
School of Geography

Parkville

221 Bouverie Street

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jmcook@unimelb.edu.au

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School of Geography

Approximately 40 million people worldwide work in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), which describes mining conducted by individuals, families, or groups using rudimentary and often non-mechanised processes to extract minerals or gems. Accounting for approximately 20 percent of the world’s production of gold, diamonds, tin, and tantalum, and 80 percent of coloured gemstones, ASM is a major source of minerals for electronics, investment (in the case of gold), and jewellery.

ASM has economic potential but also many challenges, such as environmental degradation; uneven distribution of benefits; conflicting claims to resource rights; illicit trade, armed conflict, corruption, human rights, and labour violations; and discriminatory practices.

Dr. Mark Freudenberger will share strategic lessons learned from applied field research and implementation of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and European Union programming in ASM in West and Central Africa.

Reflections will centre on five strategic themes:

1) Debates around the “formalisation” of the ASM sector;
2) Contradictions in co-management the ASM sector by the state and artisanal miners;
3) ASM contributions to rural economies and results from environmental rehabilitation;
4) Challenges of mechanisation;
5) Strategies for addressing power asymmetries and corruption within the sector.

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