Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) presents both a significant opportunity and challenge to many countries. The sector is responsible for a large proportion of the global production in minerals and metals, and it supports countless livelihoods, both directly and indirectly. At the same time, it can be a source of considerable risk and impact, socially, economically and environmentally. Strong governance and management of the sector will help governments capture the positive benefits of ASM while ensuring that any negative environmental, social and economic risks are minimized or eliminated.
To help in this effort, the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) released the IGF Guidance for Governments: Managing Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in late 2016. This guidance document, prepared at the request of IGF members and developed through an iterative process of extensive research and stakeholder consultation, aims to guide governments in the development of effective and inclusive management strategies for their ASM sectors.
A consortium of eight East African countries—led by Uganda and Rwanda—requested upon publication of the guidance that a related training program be designed and delivered to ensure that these IGF member states had the capacities required to implement the guidance and develop their ASM management strategies. The scope of this demand-driven training workshop quickly expanded, with invitations sent to all English-speaking sub-Saharan African countries to ensure greater reach, promote a richer sharing of experiences and encourage peer learning. The IGF plans to deliver similar training workshops in French and Spanish.
Managing ASM: IGF Regional Workshop for Africa was held June 5–9, 2017, at the Marriott Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda thanks to financial support from the Government of Canada. 36 participants from 14 IGF member countries attended: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
You may download the full meeting report here: a summary is below.
The goal of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of participants to apply and implement the IGF Guidance for Governments on Managing Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining. The workshop objectives were to:
- Train IGF member representatives to understand the IGF Guidance for Governments on Managing ASM.
- Create opportunities for knowledge sharing and peer learning on cross-cutting ASM issues and challenges.
- Put in place a community of practice to support the integration of the IGF Guidance for Governments on Managing ASM in the participating countries.
The five-day workshop was facilitated and led by a team of expert trainers selected from a training-of-trainers workshop held in Nairobi in April 2017, in collaboration with IGF technical staff. It was co-hosted by the Governments of Rwanda and Uganda, and was officially opened by Francis Gatare, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Petroleum, Mining and Gas Board. In Gatare’s opening remarks, he encouraged participants to use the workshop as an opportunity to learn and share experiences. He further thanked the IGF and the Government of Canada for their support in the development of the guidance and for organizing the workshop.
Day 1: Phase 1, Getting Started
The training commenced with an overview of Phase 1 of the guidance: “Getting Started.” This phase of the guidance sets a foundation for the development of the ASM management strategy: in groups, participants worked through the steps of establishing an ASM task force, establishing a forum for stakeholder consultation, analyzing the ASM context and engaging with potential partners. Participants did so using a Rwandan case study, which had been prepared for distribution prior to the training and was presented in detail early on Day 1 by representatives from the Rwanda Petroleum, Mining and Gas Board. This case study introduced participants to the ASM sector in Rwanda, and provided a basis for discussions and exercises throughout the week. The day concluded with a knowledge clinic, in which participants discussed specific ASM challenges through peer learning.
Day 2: Nyakabingo Mine Site Visit
Day 2 proceeded with a field visit of Nyakabingo mine, a mixed small-scale/artisanal tungsten mine site near Kigali. Participants were able to tour the mine site, which included visits to an artisanal panning site, a decommissioned mine shaft, an active mine shaft and a sorting area.
Day 3: Phase 2, Developing an ASM Management Strategy
Days 3 introduced the second and most complicated part of the guidance: “Developing an ASM Management Strategy.” The purpose of this phase is to develop an ASM vision and Management Strategy that addresses the negative impacts and enhances the positive impacts of all types of ASM in the country. Given the length of this phase, it was covered over two days. On Day 3, facilitators introduced participants to the process for developing an ASM vision, and to the benefits of further dividing the national ASM sector into different types to ensure that the management strategy responds to varying needs and challenges. For the purposes of the exercise, and in keeping with the Rwandan case study, the workshop participants decided to develop an ASM strategy for base metals. Group exercises then focused on the development of an economics approach to managing ASM. The day also featured a case study from Uganda, as well as expert round tables led by participants, where particular approaches to addressing ASM challenges were presented and discussed.
Day 4: Phase 2, Developing an ASM Management Strategy
The work on Phase 2 of the guidance continued on Day 4, with participants working in small groups to develop an approach to responding to ASM that focused on mitigating the negative social, environmental and economic impacts of the sector. Participants were then taken through the process of consolidating strategies for the various types of ASM into an overall ASM management strategy for the country. In addition to these exercises, participants were treated to a presentation on ASM in Tanzania, and there was an open plenary discussion aimed at discussing outstanding ASM issues and answering any lingering questions.
Day 5: Phase 3, Implementing an ASM Management Strategy
The workshop concluded on Day 5 with Phase 3: “Implementing an ASM Management Strategy.” This phase is about putting the ASM Management Strategy into practice, and ensuring its success through effective monitoring and evaluation. In addition to brief lectures and group exercises, participants were given a presentation on the ASM situation in Ghana, and had further opportunities at peer learning through expert round tables. At the close of the workshop, country representatives presented preliminary return-to-work plans, which had been developed throughout the week by country representatives to assist them in applying the guidance to the development of national ASM management strategies.
A key highlight of the workshop was the use of knowledge clinics and expert round table discussions on identified ASM issues and challenges as part of the daily learning process. These sessions enriched participant understanding and knowledge, while also serving to strengthen new relationships among participants, as they were able to learn from each other’s experiences in addressing ASM challenges and harnessing ASM opportunities.