Artisanal Mining – No Longer Invisible (a round up)
Sustainability, Strategy & Finance

Artisanal Mining – No Longer Invisible (a round up)

Artisanal mining deserves more attention. In the last of his series, Rob Karpati summarises why it's important, and the practical steps being taken to solve the challenges.

At the beginning of 2023 we asked Rob Karpati, from the Blended Capital Group to write us a series of blogs on Artisanal Mining. Little did we know then where this would go.

Not only have the blogs encouraged debate, but they have also raised awareness that the challenges around 'solving' artisanal mining, were a microcosm of many of the challenges involved in the sustainability transitions. If we lived in Europe, it was too easy to export the bad stuff, and pretend it has gone away. A classic 'out of sight, out of mind'.

In today's blog Rob summarises his series. Why artisanal mining is important as a sustainability transition, some of the possible solutions (that we are now seeing working on the ground), and by implication, how what we learn from thinking about artisanal mining can also be applied to other sustainability challenges.

We hope that artisanal mining is no longer the invisible problem.



The details

At the beginning of 2023 we asked Rob Karpati, from the Blended Capital Group to write us a series of blogs on Artisanal Mining.

At the beginning our motivations were simple. From the work we had done on Renewables, EV's and Batteries, we knew that some of the production of the raw materials that they rely on was problematic at best, and massively damaging to our social and environmental systems at worst. Our idea was that Rob's blog's would form part of a series we would do on mining and raw material production.

After all, if we wanted more Renewables, EV's and Batteries, then as investors we also needed to think more about where the essential raw materials came from. It was not enough to say, we can just invest in the 'good things' and ignore the other aspects.

As Rob's blogs started to come in, we realised that Artisanal Mining was important for another reason as well. The challenges around 'solving' artisanal mining, were a microcosm of many of the challenges involved in the sustainability transitions. If we lived in Europe, it was too easy to export the bad stuff, and pretend it has gone away. A classic 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Perspective: Artisanal mining - seeking solutions
The increasing focus on supply chains for the critical minerals used in green technologies has also brought the topic of artisanal mining to the fore. It remains a controversial and not well understood topic.

Other examples range from palm oil, through coffee, to steel production and chemicals. Issues covered included human rights, environmental damage, and a just transition.

Unsurprisingly, given this, Rob's blogs turned out to be some of our most popular, at least in terms of response and feedback.

This is now Rob's final article in the Sustainable Investor series on Artisanal Mining (ASM). Hopefully this is not the end of our relationship - the mining industry is both essential to our sustainable future, and a source of concern for many. We need to keep shining a light, not so much on the problems (which are well covered by other's), but more on the solutions. It's the solutions that will enable investors to positively contribute to making the sustainable transitions happen in a financially viable way.

Before we hand over to Rob ....in the interests of keeping our compliance advisor sane, this is not an endorsement of Rob, or The Blended Capital Group. As always, we aim to inform, educate and stimulate debate by challenging popular misconceptions.


Artisanal Mining – No Longer Invisible

Rob Karpati: the Blended Capital Group


The purpose of these blogs has been to increase visibility on the far too invisible sector, while highlighting approaches and implications of formalization.  This article will summarize what has already been written, while highlighting both the importance of the sector and approaches that make sense for enabling both the dignity and productivity of work for artisanal miners.

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