Publication Type: 
Analysis by the EITI
Published Date: 
June, 2018

Panning for data

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in EITI countries

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is largely an informal sector with limited available information on production, revenues, operations and even location of activities. Regulation of the sector is often inadequate and its real contribution to national economy is difficult to estimate. Estimates of employment numbers and production levels in the ASM sector vary but show that it plays a significant role, particularly in the development mineral sector. Several EITI countries have explored options to address issues in ASM.  In doing so, they aim to (i) improve access to reliable data on artisanal mining; (ii) understand the contribution of ASM to the national economy; (iii) raise awareness on ASM related issues such as mineral smuggling, and (iv) support capacity building activities for formalisation of the sector and feasibility studies on how to cover ASM in EITI reporting.

Many countries have included preliminary feasibility or scoping studies on how to extend the scope of EITI reporting to the ASM sector with a view to increase transparency. Colombia and Cote d’Ivoire have included in their work plans studies to explore whether the scope of EITI reporting should be extended to ASM. Other countries, such as the DRC, Ghana, Guyana, Mali, the Philippines, Senegal, Suriname, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia have already made the decision to include ASM in EITI reporting and are conducting scoping studies to map out challenges and design a reporting process applicable to the ASM sector. Other countries have started discussing ASM issues through forums and engagement of stakeholders, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Mongolia, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Tanzania and Zambia. In Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea, EITI communication campaigns have often targeted mining sites occupied by artisanal miners.

This brief documents the results that can be seen from countries that have decided to include ASM in the scope of their EITI process.  These results can be divided into three categories: 1) increasing transparency in the sector; 2) contributing towards formalisation of the sector; and 3) sparking public debate and providing platforms for discussion.

This brief concludes by putting forward some opportunities for increasing transparency in the sector using the EITI framework.