Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a complex and diversified sector that ranges from poor individual miners informally seeking to eke out or supplement a subsistence livelihood, to formal small‐scale commercial mining entities that can produce minerals in a responsible way that respects local laws. To enhance the quality of life of those miners working outside of the legal framework and to enhance their contribution to sustainable development, governments should consider:
Ways of integrating informal ASM activities into the legal system by:
- Creating clear legal frameworks and regulatory mechanisms to facilitate the organization of ASM, access to property rights and ensuing obligations for ASM;
- Providing technical support to build the capacity of government or other bodies tasked with regulating and supporting the sector; and
- Developing and replicating formalization strategies on the basis of lessons learned.
Ways of integrating informal ASM activities into the formal economic system:
- Improving savings in the artisanal mining community, establishing more acceptable forms of financing and encouraging responsible investment;
- Strengthening the appropriateness, viability and transparency of policies and systems for collection, management and reinvestment of ASM revenue;
- Encouraging initiatives for standards and certification of ASM “fair trade” conflict-free minerals to harmonize and grow in scale; and
- Encouraging, through the permitting process or at other times, entities to explore ways to collaborate with ASM when it is present or can reasonably be anticipated to follow the development of a mine.
Reducing the social and environmental impacts of ASM by:
- Providing technical training to improve productivity and safeguard the environment, and developing, disseminating and enforcing regulations with a particular emphasis on safeguarding water sources, reducing deforestation, ending or reducing the use of mercury, and improving the management of mercury and other toxic substances when it is not possible to eliminate them, including safe working conditions, access to health care, etc;
- Having national programs that provide minimal standards of health and education to ASM workers and their families;
- Making a significant and verifiable reduction in the number of children employed in artisanal mining and improvements in the nature and scheduling of their work so as to accommodate educational needs;
- Strengthening, monitoring and enforcing laws on child labour in artisanal and small-scale mining areas;
- Strengthening the role and security of women in ASM; and
- Promoting the inclusion of ASM in rural development and job creation policies such that, where desired and realistic, alternative livelihoods are promoted.