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Book Chapter

Artisanal and small-scale mining in Africa: the poor relation

By
K. P. C. J. D’souza
K. P. C. J. D’souza
Wardell Armstrong LLP, Lancaster Building, High Street, Newcastle-Under-Lyme ST5 1PQ, UK (e-mail: kdsouza@wardell-armstrong.com)
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Abstract

The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in sub-Saharan Africa is a sector usually associated with conflict minerals, fatal diseases, smuggling, criminal activity and civil war. Throughout Africa the ASM sector is unfortunately viewed in a negative and distorted manner with little appreciation or understanding for the realities and hardship of miners, their families and communities. However, the sector is burdened and plagued with issues ranging from child labour, gender inequality, the spread of HIV/AIDS, environmental devastation, poor health and safety, migrant workers, lack of capital and fair markets, and conflict with the private large-scale mining sector. The paper discusses the many overlapping and complex drivers, challenges, constraints and issues that characterize the sector and considers the potential solutions through the adoption of appropriate best practice, hopefully leading to sustainable livelihoods in the ASM sector and overall poverty alleviation. Key issues, such as institutional capacity, governance, assistance schemes, legislation, miners’ organizations, gender mainstreaming, child labour, health and safety, environmental protection, mineral trading and marketing, adding value, finance and credit, and the co-existence with the large-scale mining sector are all detailed. The paper also highlights ideas of what individual countries can do to help formalize and provide assistance to this vulnerable sector. Some of what is discussed concurs with the findings of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) Project, the multi-donor Communities & Small-Scale Mining (CASM) initiative, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) – Yaoundé Seminar on ASM in Africa, and most recently the African Mining Partnership (AMP). The bulk of this paper, however, has come from the experience gained by the author while managing and working on numerous projects commissioned by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, United Nations, various African Governments, private mining companies and NGOs in over 20 African countries.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World

B. R. Marker
B. R. Marker
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, UK
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M. G. Petterson
M. G. Petterson
British Geological Survey, UK
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F. McEvoy
F. McEvoy
British Geological Survey, UK
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M. H. Stephenson
M. H. Stephenson
British Geological Survey, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
250
ISBN electronic:
9781862394988
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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