Artisanal and small-scale mining
Digging down to the small-scale
Most artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) activity is informal or illegal in nature, with production often clandestine and hidden from official view. Collecting detailed and reliable information about scale, dynamics and economics of the sector can be challenging, and the scant data available is often not well stored and rarely used in policy-making. The sector’s informality, illegal trade and the nature of the materials extracted can lead to difficulties in obtaining production figures.
The EITI requires disclosure of an estimate of informal sector activity and its contribution to the economy. EITI reporting can provide an overview of a country’s ASM activity, production, export and revenue data, quantitative data about the sector, links to existing sources of information and a description of initiatives underway, in order to support that country’s ASM development.
Ethiopia is licensing individual miners, providing technical support for capacity building, setting up basic infrastructure and facilitating formalised marketing of gold. Specific laws address the sector and the National Bank has been set up as a buying agent for gold produced by small-scale miners.
Colombia places great importance on the mining formalisation policy that seeks to enhance the legal, regulatory, fiscal and infrastructure conditions for the small- and medium-scale mining sectors. The government has formalised 20% of the illegal mining units identified in 20 regions across the country and established a trading registry. Additionally, a main priority is to eradicate the use of mercury in mining activities.
The inclusion of data on gold and precious stone exports in Madagascar’s latest EITI Report provides information on the country’s informal mining sector and helps to address the lack of reliable information on employment, gold and precious stone production and the informal sector’s contribution to the economy.
The EITI has the potential to help governments engage efficiently with the necessary stakeholders to develop sustainable policies, improve government oversight of the sector and increase citizens’ awareness of the benefits and costs of ASM.