6. Importance to national economies and development
The ASM sector is also a significant contributor to national economies and important source of foreign exchange earnings. This is especially true for developing countries needing to increase government revenues and reduce budget deficits and dependency on aid:
- In Ghana, a country considered to have middle income status, ASM accounted for 35 percent of total gold production in 2014, contributing almost 1.5 million ounces of gold. This is in the context of total gold exports earning Ghana approximately US$4.5 billion in the same year
- In Mongolia an estimated 100,000 artisanal and small-scale miners comprise nearly 20 percent of the country’s rural workforce, contributing an estimated US$110 million annually to export revenues.
Given its contribution to foreign exchange earnings and as a source of employment, ASM already plays an important role in the wealth creation of local and national economies. However, the full potential of ASM as a significant contributor to national development is not currently being fully realised.
This is largely due to the fact that the majority of miners operate informally, without the licences and permits required by law. There is therefore the need for a more rounded, comprehensive, and supportive policy response from national governments as well as international agencies to help create locally developed approaches to formalising the sector and realising its development potential.