Ottawa, Canada, January 19, 2017 – Governments struggling to manage the complex and sometimes chaotic artisanal and small scale-mining sector have a new toolkit: a guidance developed by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF).
IGF Guidance for Governments: Managing artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) presents a step-by-step process governments can employ to develop, implement and monitor an effective ASM Management Strategy. The guidance includes direction on how to ensure effective, inclusive strategy development and implementation, as well as effective governance of the process overall.
An initial draft was endorsed by IGF’s 56 member governments at the forum’s 12th Annual General Meeting in October 2016.
Several member governments have already requested assistance from the IGF Secretariat in implementing the guidance.
“The informal mining sector can be a source of social conflict and can result in serious impacts on human health and the environment,” said Greg Radford, director of the IGF Secretariat.
“Integrating 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.”
ASM is a complex and diversified sector across much of the developing world. It ranges from informal individual miners seeking a subsistence livelihood, to small-scale formal commercial mining entities producing minerals in a responsible way.
For many countries, ASM is an important source of livelihoods and a cause of environmental damage. There is a pressing need to enhance the quality of life for miners working outside of formal legal and economic systems, and to enhance the contribution of the sector to sustainable development.
The exact scale of ASM worldwide is unknown, given that many operating in the sector do so outside of formal economic and legal structures. However, it is estimated that the sector provides a livelihood to tens of millions of people globally.
“Effective management of a sector as complex as artisanal and small-scale mining is extremely challenging,” Radford said in a statement.
“We strove to design a flexible toolkit which will help our member governments implement a strategy which is founded on global best practices and then adapted to suit national goals and realities.”
This is the first in a series of IGF guidance documents aimed at helping governments manage key issues relating to mining and sustainable development. The IGF Secretariat developed the guidance document at the request of member states who sought to expand on the direction provided by the IGF’s flagship Mining Policy Framework (MPF).
The guidance document was developed by RCS Global with input from stakeholders during multiple global consultations in 2015 and 2016. RCS Global is a leading responsible raw materials supply chain audit and advisory firm.
“While some governments have made progress on managing ASM, many lack the capacity and technical knowledge to achieve their goals,” said RCS Global Director Nicholas Garrett.
“This guidance gives governments a clear pathway to effectively manage the ASM sector and to ensure that civil servants have the necessary skills. It also enables governments to be more competent partners in joint projects with industry.”
The guidance is equally an important resource for industry, which can use it as a source of good practice to provide to governments or to complement governments’ existing efforts to manage ASM, Garrett said.
“When ASM is managed properly, everyone benefits. Industry can help governments to engage with this tool in order to improve the operational environment and to achieve their goals of responsibly sourcing materials,” Garrett added.
“We look forward to working with stakeholders worldwide in the implementation of the guidance.”
Funding support for the guidance document was provided by German Development Cooperation and the Government of Canada.
The IGF is a member-driven organization aimed at providing opportunities for national governments with an interest in mining to share best practices and work collectively to achieve their goals. The IGF is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship. Secretariat duties are performed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Secretariat funding is provided by the Government of Canada.
RCS Global is one of the world’s leading responsible raw materials supply chain audit and advisory firms. They work directly with industry national governments, international regulatory bodies and international non-governmental organizations to provide research, technical assistance and training on responsible supply chains. The company has worked on improving public policy frameworks and their implementation internationally and in over 20 countries worldwide.