Relevant References


Links to relevant websites or articles


Artisanal Gold Mining: A Dangerous Pollution Problem (Blackstone Institute report)
Artisanal gold mining is one of the most significant sources of mercury release into the environment in the developing world, with at least a quarter of the world’s total gold supply coming from such sources. Each of Blacksmith Institute’s several mercury programmes around the world share a common objective: to introduce mercury-reducing technologies to artisanal mining communities in order to lessen the impact on human health and the environment.

Artisanal Mining (Wikipedia write-up)
An artisanal miner or small-scale miner is, in effect, a subsistence miner. They are not officially employed by a mining company, but rather work independently, mining or panning for gold using their own resources.

World Bank Open Knowledge Depository (for Artisanal Mining)
Comprehensive list of World Bank publications on Artisanal Mining and other World Bank publications. (World Bank Document)
Artisanal or Small-Scale Mining is largely a poverty driven activity, typically practiced in the poorest and most remote rural areas of a country by a largely itinerant, poorly educated populace with little other employment alternatives. In looking to provide a forum for a coordinated approach to assessing and addressing problems and needs of small scale miners, the World Bank Group participates in the organization Communities and Small-Scale Mining (CASM).

IIED shines a light on small-scale mining
Small-scale and artisanal mining — a sector that governments and development agencies often see as only as a problem — could be a source of sustainable livelihoods for millions of marginalized people, say researchers at the International Institute for Environment and Development. Today they have launched a report that identifies the serious knowledge gaps in the sector and sets out options for a major new IIED project-in-the-making. (includes Latest News updates)

Breaking New Ground – IIED
Breaking New Ground describes the minerals sector and its relationship with concepts of sustainable development, and offers an Agenda for Change for immediate and future actions. This publication presents the principal conclusions of the IIED/WBCSD project Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) – the most ambitious study yet undertaken on the role of minerals in sustainable development.

Global Report on Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining – IIED (IIED & World Business Council for Sustainable Development report)
(IIED & World Business Council for Sustainable Development report)
This Global Report tries to give a present “photography” of the ASM sector and provides an
overview of the sector and a description of its social, environmental and economic issues.

Responding to the challenge of artisanal and small-scale mining. How can knowledge networks help?
by Abbi Buxton IIED Feb 2013 Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) includes 20–30 million people worldwide, with three to five times that number indirectly supported through their activities. Yet development donors, governments, wider industry players and NGOs often neglect this sector, focusing on ASM’s negative impacts rather than on addressing its structural challenges to improve the sector’s opportunities for sustainable development.

Mining Facts
What is Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining?
Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) refers to informal mining activities carried out using low technology or with minimal machinery. It is estimated that more than 100 million people rely on this sector for income, mainly in developing nations.[In some areas ASM takes place alongside large-scale formal mining leading to conflicts.

Profiling African ASM – World Bank Report
This report presents the findings of a research program aimed at improving the profiling of artisanal and small-scale mining activities in Africa and the implementation of baseline surveys. It is based on a review of a total of 23 baseline studies on 15 African countries carried out between 1987 and 2002, including one regional report covering artisanal and small-scale mining in six SADC countries.

Large Scale Miners and Artisanal and Small Scale Miners Working Together With Government 
Edmonton, Alberta–(Marketwire – May 15, 2008) Mindoro Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:MIO)(FRANKFURT:WKN 906167) is pleased to announce that a new program has been created to form cooperatives which will assist and regulate small scale mining activities on the Company’s Tapian San Francisco Project in Surigao del Norte, Northern Mindanao, the Philippines.

Standard Zero for Fair Trade Artisanal Gold and Associated Silver and Platinum
Association for Responsible Mining – 2007
The Standard Zero for Fair Trade Artisanal Gold is a set of draft principles and standards produced by a technical committee under the coordination of the Association for Responsible Mining, ARM (

USAID – Examples to use for FSB

Our Mission: We partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. De-emphasize political and nationalistic components.

Feed The Future Guidance Series
Measuring natural resources management and climate change resiliency under Feed the Future.In order to account for both the projected future for agricultural landscapes and the needs of a growing world population, food security strategies must address the sustainable Intensification of agriculture to help eliminate producers’ vulnerability to fluctuating oil prices and extreme weather events due to climate change, increase efficient productivity of agriculture, and help mitigate ecological degradation and global climate change through climate smart agriculture.

Feed the Future Handbook Indicators
The Feed the Future Indicator Handbook is a working document describing the indicators selected for monitoring and evaluation of the President’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. As a result of training by the U.S.Government’s Feed the Future initiative, farmers in Tanzania are seeing a strong increase in rice production. October 2014

Feed the Future – Progress
New data indicate that successes realized by millions of farmers in communities across the world reached by Feed the Future and other U.S. Government-led efforts are contributing to substantial reductions in poverty and stunting. Click and tap through the results and impact numbers—and the stories behind them—in the digital version of Feed the Future’s 2015 progress report.

USAID Resources – Progress Measures  (Comments provided by William Bradley)
The following resources are provided by William Bradley on how USAID measures progress through the Feed the Future initiative. Some of these measures may serve useful to measure the issues facing/surrounding ASM. The metrics have been thought through, peer reviewed, and used in the field for several years.

ACDI-VOCA – Major contractor to USAID

ACDI/VOCA strives to promote positive economic and social change worldwide. It is distinguished by commitment to its overseas beneficiaries, wise stewardship of development resources, and a knowledgeable, experienced, diverse, and effective team.

ACDI-VOCA Farmer to Farmer Program
ACDI/VOCA has provided volunteer technical assistance through the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program (F2F) since 1985. F2F is authorized by Title V of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 (Public Law 480). F2F connects farmers, cooperatives and associations, and small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries to volunteer experts from the U.S. in order to fight hunger and poverty.

ASM Consulting Groups, Agencies and Organizations

Artisanal Gold Council
The Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) is dedicated to the sustainable development of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities in the developing world. Our philosophy is to work directly with ASGM communities and local experts to find practical solutions that address the unique circumstances that exist in different locations around the world.

Alliance for Responsible Mining
Fairmined is an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Organizations who meet world leading standards for responsible practices. Fairmined transforms mining into an active force for good, providing everyone with a source of GOLD TO BE PROUD OF.

Cristina Echavarria Comments
Some years back the World Bank hosted for two decades the Communities and Small Scale Mining Initiative, known as CASM. That however ended, and currently IIED is intending to play a role as knowledge platform and convener of the ASM community globally. Other convening spaces are the OECD conflict free minerals discussions and UNEP’s Global Mercury Partnership, two issues that are at the top of the global agenda as respects ASM.

International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM)
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) was established in 2001 to act as a catalyst for performance improvement in the mining and metals industry. We bring together 23 mining and metals companies as well as 35 national and regional mining associations and global commodity associations to maximize the contribution of mining, minerals and metals to sustainable development.

 International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC)
The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) was created in 1992 with the overall goal of the progressive elimination of child labor, which was to be achieved through strengthening the capacity of countries to deal with the problem and promoting a worldwide movement to combat child labor.

Microfinance Mining Brief Discussion APR 2015 – Blacutt
Microfinance in Bolivia has reached the maturity level. As of March 2015, the combined loan portfolio of banking institutions in the industry surpassed 4 billion dollars. The loan portfolio of the whole banking system is 14.4 billion dollars. Specialized microfinance institutions (MFIs) therefore account for almost 30% of the total loans in the system.

Communities and Small Scale Mining (CASM)

Communities and Small Scale Mining (CASM) Initiative
 (CASM Document – World Bank/IFC.  Also known as Collaborative Group on Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (CASM) Jennifer J. Hinton 2002.) This book represents a first attempt to synthesize and distill the essential lessons and new directions suggested by the experience and knowledge shared and debated at the Communities and Small‐Scale Mining (CASM) Annual General Meetings (AGM) over the past three years.

Best Practices

Barrick Tanazania
The Transformation of Artisanal Gold Mining Activities into Small-Scale Mining Operations Initiative. The Barrick Gold Tanzania’s approach ICMM Workshop, Elmina Ghana Presenter P M Rweyemamu May 2009

How Large Scale mining can engage with artisanal and small scale mining. This document has evolved out of a growing sense that more mutually beneficial engagement between mining companies and ASM operators is needed. For this to happen, “good practices” need further definition and further sharing across companies.

Bonanza Model
Case history study of Bonanza Mine in Nicaragua

FSB Bonanza Model – Andrew Neale

Popular Press

La Mafia del Oro en Venezuela…(45 minute video in Spanish)
This video is about the huge mess that is the small mining in Venezuela.  Corruption, drugs, prostitution and so on… Very difficult to face such a complex situation.  Change to many things is needed in Venezuela starting with the Government before pretending to do anything relevant.

National Geographic – The Real Price of Gold
For all of its allure, gold’s human and environmental toll has never been so steep. Part of the challenge, as well as the fascination, is that there is so little of it. In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools.

New Yorker – Digging for Gold
William Finnegan writes about gold mining in the ramshackle town of La Rinconada, in the Peruvian Andes. In stark contrast to large-scale, mechanized modern mining operations, the gold mines of La Rinconada are, Finnegan writes, “small, numerous, unregulated, and, as a rule, grossly unsafe.”

New Yorker – Tears of the Sun
La Rinconada, a Peruvian town seventeen thousand feet above sea level. Nearly all the mines and miners here are “informal,” a term that critics consider a euphemism for illegal. Ilasaca prefers “artisanal.”

New Yorker – Who’s to Blame for Peru’s Gold Mining Troubles
Illegal gold mining has devastated more than forty thousand hectares of Amazon forest in Peru, the state of Madre de Dios, in Peru’s southeastern Amazon jungle. The Peruvian government estimates there are thirty thousand illegal miners in Madre de Dios. Some of them operate on land zoned for mining but haven’t carried out the required environmental studies and paperwork to become fully legitimate, while others have invaded indigenous lands, forestry concessions, or protected areas where mining is illegal—like Tambopata National Reserve.


Artisanal Gold, the Mercury Problem, and Some Ideas on How to Fix It
By Kevin Telmer  ICMM Report Sep 26, 2008
Asking miners to change their behaviour in a regressive way that induces a pay cut has been a universally unsuccessful approach in ASGM intervention yet it remains a common defect, albeit one not always recognized, of many efforts.

Mercury in Gold Mining: a Third World – Toxic Threat
Michael Casey Jakarta Post  Jan 12, 2009
A gold miner stands waist-deep in a polluted pond, dumps a capful of mercury into a bucket of ore and mixes it in with his bare hands. Small-scale gold mining is the second-worst source of mercury pollution in the world, after the burning of fossil fuels. And Indonesia ranks behind only China in the use of mercury in gold mining.

Conservation Gemstones
I have found colored gemstone mining to be the most elusive in terms of regulation but also with great potential for development in remote areas. Two eminent field gemologists whom I have worked with over the years share some thoughts on how ecological conservation might be linked to gemstone consumption. Although their critique of “fair trade” and certification might be challenged, their case for “conservation gemstones” is definitely worth pursuing in its own right.

Conflict Minerals Book Intro
High value Natural Resources and post conflict Peacebuilding.
Decades of civil wars, international wars, and wars of secession demonstrate the strong relationship between natural resources and armed conflict. Disputes over natural resources and their associated revenues can be among the reasons that people go to war. Efforts to negotiate an end to conflict increasingly include natural resources. And conflicts associated with natural resources are both more likely to relapse than non-resource-related conflicts, and to relapse twice as fast. Immediately after the end of a conflict, a window of opportunity opens for a conflict-affected country and the international community to establish security, rebuild, and consolidate peace—or risk conflict relapse.

Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI)
Working with developing countries to improve how they develop, manage and benefit from their natural resources. Improving the ability of developing countries to manage and benefit from their extractive sectors in order to catalyze sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.

Root Capital

Economist – Root Capital – Seeding the Market  Lending to poor farmers
A non-profit proves that rural collectives make safe and profitable borrowers. Root’s business is lending to the owners of small farms in poor countries. An estimated 450m of these smallholdings exist worldwide, typically providing a subsistence-at-best income for more than 2 billion of the poorest people on the planet.

Root Capital – Financial Information
Root Capital has earned the four-star rating from Charity Navigator for eight consecutive years (2007-2014), indicating that Root Capital is “exceptional” in its efforts to operate in a fiscally responsible manner.


La Mafia del Oro en Venezuela
Vimeo video in Spanish, 2015
This video describing current conditions of small mining in Venezuela.

Placer Domes Cristinas project, Venezuela Factoring Social, Cultural and Environmental concerns into development decision making.
By Aidan Davy, Auristela Perez and Manish Bapna May 1999
This project is in an area that previously extensively worked by artisanal small-scale miners and integral of the project evolution has been to find some accommodations between unauthorized small-scale mining activities and larger mining projects.

From Animosity to Cooperation – conflict management and mineral development in the tropics – the Las Cristinas experience.
Jeffrey Davidson, Hermann Wotruba · World Bank · Washington D C.2014
The Las Cristinas deposit in Venezuela, was worked intensively during the early 80´s by as many as 10.000 small scale miners, using gravel pumps, monitors (high pressure water jets) and sluice boxes. Mercury was liberally applied to the run-of-mine material; excess mercury was discharged along with the sediments, back into the natural drainage and local ecosystems. By 1984, unregulated mining activities had become so problematic that a special federal commission was convened to consider ways of bringing the situation under control. The government vested responsibility for exploration, development and exploitation of the precious mineral resources of the area in the state development corporation, Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG), which subsequently drafted a plan for the regularization of mineral activity in the region. Under this plan, certain areas were reserved for organized small-scale mining activities, while other areas were designated for large-scale industrial extraction of mineral resources.

The Transformation and Successful Development of Small-scale Mining Enterprises in Developing Countries
Jeffrey Davidson,  Natural Resources Forum 17(4):315 – 326, 2009
Proponents have long argued that small-scale mining, given proper direction and support, can contribute substantively to the socioeconomic development of rural areas in developing countries. The attitudes of governments, commercial mining companies and donor agencies have been colored by the haphazard, informal, often dangerous and seemingly wasteful character of much local mining activity, especially at the smallest scale. Yet this ‘artisanal’ activity has come to assume a critical economic welfare function in many countries, especially those which have suffered through extended periods of environmental and economic stress. This paper argues that this type of mining, because of both its upside potential and its problematic nature, cannot be ignored: neither can it be eradicated. Instead, explicit and sustained attention from governments, non-government organizations, the private sector and donor agencies is advocated for an effort to rationalize and formalize this type of mining, to increase its economic and technical efficiency, and to maximize its social benefits and minimize its disadvantages.

Ghana Articles

Executive Perspective: Unearthing gold, not conflict
Editor’s Choice Article on Reuters Sustainability website
J. Chris Anderson, PhD,  November 24,  2015
The traditional “gold rush,” as we know from history and film, has long been a thing of the past. When gold is discovered now, rarely is it found above the surface, where hordes of newly minted miners swoop in and grab what they find. Instead, the metal is found underground. There is a new model, however, that addresses these challenges, and the industry can find it at the Newmont Mining Corporation’s Ahafo facility in North Central Ghana. At Ahafo, Newmont built one of the most successful large-scale gold projects ever, largely because instead of pushing aside local communities, Newmont built a partnership with them.

Mining in Ghana – What future can we expect?
The report assesses the economic contributions of mining in Ghana and explores how these might be enhanced. The report does this by presenting the findings of applying the life cycle model (Module six) of ICMM’s MPD Toolkit to Ghana. The work has been commissioned by ICMM and the Ghana Chamber of Mines and has been conducted by Steward Redqueen and ACET. This is a follow-up report to the Ghana country case study (ICMM 2007).

To Move or not to Move’: Reflections on the Resettlement of Artisanal Miners in the Western Region of Ghana
Gavin Hilson, Natalia Yakovleva and Sadia Mohammed Banchirigah
African Affairs, vol. 106, pp 413-436,  2007
This article critically reflects upon the shortcomings of the ‘Prestea Action Plan’, an ambitious initiative undertaken to facilitate the resettlement of artisanal miners operating in the Western Region of Ghana It was a particularly significant exercise in Ghana because it suggested that the authorities, who traditionally have exercised a policy of non-negotiation with such groups, had finally recognized that dialogue was needed if the growing rift between the country’s indigenous artisanal miners, foreign mining companies and government bodies was to be bridged.

Why is Illegal Gold Mining Activity so Ubiquitous in Rural Ghana ?
Gavin Hilson & Clive Potter
African Development Review, vol. 15, issue 2, pp. 237-270, 2003
Why illegal artisanal and small-scale mining is a widespread phenomenon in the developing world. This paper profiles the case of Ghana, where clandestine gold mining activity is now ubiquitous throughout many rural areas. Despite having passed a series of industry-specific laws and regulations, and implementing an array of support services under the guidance of Gesellschaft Technische Zusannebarbeit (GTZ) and the World Bank, the Ghanaian government is widely regarded as having failed in its attempts to regulate the sector and bring it into the public domain.

Principles on Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining
(ASM) The Ghana Chamber of Mines,  Feb 28, 2008
Ghana is a mining country and Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) have been and will continue to be a vocation in the country. Artisanal mining (legal and illegal) is loosely defined as mining activity with a reasonably low level of capital investment and mechanization. Small-Scale mining is considered a legal activity where the mining activity covers no more than 25 acres.

Publication from Mincom on Areas for Small Scale Miners
Daily Graphic (Oct. 24, 2008)
Public notice from the Mineral Commission, 479,421,402 acres of land with potential gold mineralization has been made available through the country of Ghana. There are 44 sites blocked out for licensing to Small miners.

Miners vs Multinationals: Ghana on front-line
Kwasi Kpodo, Reuters article,  July 15, 2008
The illegal miners had left their mark. Tools, explosives, sacks and ropes lay beside chopped power cables some 2,300 ft (700 metres) below ground in AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine in Ghana. Known as galamseyers, illegal miners have disrupted commercial operations in several mines in Ghana and are costing mining conglomerates millions of dollars in Africa’s second biggest gold miner after South Africa.

Ghana Chamber of Mines Workshop on Artisanal Mining – Background Note
International Council on Minerals And Metals (ICMM)
Elmina, Ghana  May 12-14, 2009
Theme: Mineral-Led Sustainable Development: Effectively Harnessing the Benefits of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Africa

The Role of the Majors in promoting good practice in Small-Scale Mining
Presentation by Ms. Joyce R. Aryee, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber of Mines
The Chamber was composed of directors of the Mining Companies in London who, among other functions, sought to promote or oppose any legislative measures or petition government in the colony on many matters, which directly affected mining interests.

Land Use Disputes in Ghana’s Mining Communities: Developing Sustainable Strategies The Centre For Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society
Economic and Social Research Council, Working Paper Series No. 36
Louise Obara and Heledd Jenkins
In response to heightened global awareness of sustainability, environmental and ethical issues, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a priority concern in the mining industry. One of the more serious CSR policy challenges faced by governments and companies in mineral-rich developing countries is the equitable resolution of disputes between small- scale and large-scale mining; one country where this issue has become noticeably intense is Ghana.

Retrospective on the Experience: Overview of Artisinal Mining and its Regulation in Ghana
Ben. N.A. Aryee,  Chief Executive, Minerals Commission, Ghana
Presentation at 3rd Annual General Meeting of CASM, Elmina, Sept. 8, 2003
Small scale mining in Ghana: Mining by any method not involving substantial expenditure, with Ghanaian ownership ……PNDCL 218 & PNDCL 153

Golden Opportunity in Ghana: A Negotiation Case Study and Analysis
Sally Dickinson Deleon
Environmental Conflict Resolution, Dr. Saleem Ali, Fall 2006
The story behind the economy of gold is a complex one, perhaps as full of conflict and coveting as it is of wealth and security. Especially in Africa, where the legacy of colonialism bears strong connections with the presence of large gold and diamond mining operations, there is a tendency for poverty-stricken communities to resent and distrust mining companies and the national governments who endorse their claims to land and resources1. This situation is further complicated when local communities compete with mining companies over scarce resources like land and mining rights.

“Live and Let’s Live” – The relationship between artisanal/small-scale and large-scale miners in Ghana: The Abosso Goldfields experience
By Anthony Kwesi Aubynn
Since 1990, Ghana has produced an average of 1,000,000 ounces of gold and 800,000 carats of diamonds per annum. Of these figures, an average of about 100,000 ounces (about 10%) and 700,000 carats (about 70%) of gold and diamonds respectively were produced by the artisanal small-scale miners in the country. While LSM is estimated to provide direct employment to approximately 15,000 Ghanaians, between 100,000 and 200,000 people are estimated to be directly engaged in ASM, of whom an estimated 30% are women.

Principles on Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining (ASM)
The Ghana Chamber Of Mines
Ghana is a mining country and Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) have been and will continue to be a vocation in the country. Artisanal mining (legal and illegal) is loosely defined as mining activity with a reasonably low level of capital investment and mechanization. Small-Scale mining is considered a legal activity where the mining activity covers no more than 25 acres.

Sierra Leone