Summary: 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. It's frequently portrayed in a negative way, with governments often describing it as "illegal mining", calling for it to be banned. But, it's not that simple. Most miners lack choices. As with other transitions there are solutions, but perhaps not the obvious ones.
Why this is important: This blog contains insights from Rob Karpati, from the Blended Capital Group. Rob is passionate about mining, especially finding practical solutions to artisanal mining. The team he works with believe that opportunities for extreme impact exist, requiring the development of an investment marketplace as well as a focus in rights in order to mitigate structural challenges.
The big theme: One of the big challenges in decarbonising our society relates to the supply of critical raw materials. This is not just about cost, it also covers where they are sourced from, how they are produced, and how can we manage and mitigate the inevitable negative impacts. Intrinsically tied up in this is the issue of mining. For many minerals we are going to need more mining (and mineral processing), not less. Which means we need to think deeply about what mining means for local communities, and how we can make mining more environmentally and socially sustainable.
Summary of an article from The Conversation
Judith Verweijen, Fergus O'Leary Simpson and Peer Schouten: Mining and armed conflict threaten eastern DRC’s biodiversity in a complex web - Jan 2023
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) conflict-affected eastern provinces are home to numerous protected areas. These areas host unique biodiversity and a range of threatened species, such as the okapi, forest elephant and mountain gorilla. They are also part of the Congo Basin rainforest, which is a crucial line of defence against climate change. The same protected areas overlap with globally significant deposits of minerals – including gold, coltan and cassiterite.