RCS Global and the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) have launched the first universal framework designed to improve how governments manage artisanal and small-scale mining.
An industry in need of formalisation
The guidance comes at a crucial time for the sector as demand for materials such as cobalt, gold and precious stones fuel continued growth in ASM, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is estimated that close to 25 million artisanal and small-scale miners currently operate globally with a further 100 million workers are indirectly involved in the industry. This dwarfs the number active in large-scale mining and presents a huge development opportunity. Unfortunately, management of the sector is currently typically weak and inconsistent.
The informal mining sector can be a source of social conflict and can result in serious impacts on human health and the environment. Integrating artisanal and small-scale mining into the formal economy can help miners and communities by increasing security, creating a path towards more stable incomes and ensuring that safer and more environmentally sustainable practices are employed. It can also help spur longer-term economic and social development and ensure that the entire nation benefits from the exploitation of natural resources.
Potential impact of the IGF Guidance
The Guidance represents the first major attempt to implement a global standard for managing and improving artisanal and small-scale mining. It offers countries with ASM operations a clear mechanism to better monitor, regulate, and improve the sector and has been endorsed by the IGF’s 56 member governments. It also provides the blueprint for improved coordination between ASM host governments at the national and regional levels, and global downstream businesses operating in the sector.