Summary: The challenges around Artisanal and Small scale Mining (ASM) are not going away. One solution is to formalise the sector, making it possible for the miners to legally earn a living. This is a good solution, but we need to recognise that each location has its own specific challenges - there is not a single catch all solution.
Why this is important: There are broadly two reasons why investors should care about finding a solution to the challenges in ASM. One relates to fairness, ASM opens up communities to exploitation. The second reason is, if we care about supply chains, then we need to care about where our raw materials come from.
The big theme: We are going to rely on mining to deliver the raw materials we need for the Sustainability Transitions. And, our supply chains are coming under greater attention. Not just from a social perspective, but also legally. This means the challenges around ASM will become, if anything, even more prominent.
Summary of an article from Resources Policy
Shitima & Suykens: Formalization of sand mining in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - May 2023
While artisanal and small-scale mining has gained the attention of policy makers and academic researchers, very little is known about the organisation and governance of sand extraction. Journalistic and activist accounts of the destructive nature of sand mining have boomed, often focusing on the illegal, violent and criminal aspects of the sand trade. But this is only part of the picture.
It is necessary to go beyond a criminalisation and mafia perspective, looking as well at the different governance regimes around sand mining. Given booming sand extraction in many parts of Sub-Sahara Africa, policy makers, both at the national and international level, should take stock of governance efforts for sand mining in the Dar Es Salaam area , including a clear focus on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) formalisation.