Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM)

9. A history of support over the past four decades

Despite ASM not being a focal point of the broader international development agenda over the past four decades, significant progress has been made by the international community, a group of key academics and activists, NGOs, and governments to improve the governance and policy frameworks for the sector.

As the understanding of ASM has increased over time, a range of approaches to improve the sector have been taken. This began with time spent trying to define activities in the 1970s, technical approaches in the 1980s, followed by work to develop legal frameworks for and legalise ASM activities in the early 1990s. During the 2000s most of the time was spent trying to better understand community issues, the contribution ASM makes to sustainable livelihoods and rural communities, and issues around conflict minerals.

Most recently, much of the focus has been concerned with certification and understanding how to formalise artisanal and small-scale mining activities to the benefit of miners, national development, as well as to reduce the significant negative impacts of operations and remove elements of criminality. In sub- Saharan Africa addressing this policy gap is also set within the context of the Africa Mining Vision.