Artisanal and Small-scale Mining

 

Small and isolated deposits of minerals are scattered all over SADC countries. These often lend themselves to economic exploitation through small-scale mining. With modest demand on capital expenditure and a short lead-time, they also provide employment opportunities for the local population. In certain countries, artisanal miners are exploited by companies who buy their produce cheaply. Artisanal mining in its current form in most SADC countries is poorly regulated and often not taxed.

Claude Kabemba's picture

Director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW)

January 13th, 2014

 

Small and isolated deposits of minerals are scattered all over SADC countries. These often lend themselves to economic exploitation through small-scale mining. With modest demand on capital expenditure and a short lead-time, they also provide employment opportunities for the local population. In certain countries, artisanal miners are exploited by companies who buy their produce cheaply. Artisanal mining in its current form in most SADC countries is poorly regulated and often not taxed.

Recommended Principles and Guidelines for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining

i.       Promote small-scale mining of small deposits in a sustainable manner while safeguarding social, environmental, safety and health concerns.

ii       There should be strict conditions on this sector, including:

1.      Creating an appropriate regulatory policy framework to promote small-scale mining;

2.      Decentralising the issuing of mining rights and taxation;

3.      Introducing preferential rights, which give local companies preference in the granting of licences, but which also give them strong negotiating powers to enter into third-party agreements. The third party shall be equally bound by the conditions governing the licence, which supersedes the third party’s country agreements or laws;

4.      Passing strong legislation on the safety of vulnerable populations, especially women and children; and,

5.      Formalising artisanal mining and legislating for the creation of small enterprises, such as cooperatives or companies, which can be properly managed.

iii.            Governments must create mechanisms to enforce good environmental practices in artisanal mining so that the sector contributes to the formal economy and reduces its negative environmental impact.

 

About the author(s)

Claude Kabemba is the Director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW). In 2006, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) asked him to spearhead the formation of SARW. He holds a PhD in International Relations (Political economy) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Thesis: Democratisation and the Political Economy of a Dysfunctional State: The Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo). Before joining SARW, he worked at the Human Sciences Research Council and the Electoral institute of Southern Africa as a Chief Research Manager and Research Manager respectively. He has also worked at the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Centre for Policy Studies as Policy Analyst. Dr. Kabemba’s main areas of research interest include: Political economy of Sub Saharan Africa with focus on Southern and Central Africa looking specifically on issues of democratization and governance, natural resources governance, election politics, citizen participation, conflicts, media, political parties, civil society and social policies. He has consulted for international organizations such Oxfam, UNHCR, The Norwegian People’s Aid, Electoral Commissions and the African Union. He has undertaken various evaluations related to the work of Electoral Commissions and civil society groups interventions in the electoral process in many African countries. He is regularly approached by both local and international media for comments on political and social issues on the continent. His publication record spans from books (as editor), book chapters, journal articles, monographs, research reports, and newspaper articles.

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