Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM)

14. Ethical mineral and fair trade certification schemes

Since the mid to late 2000s, a number of ethical mineral certification schemes, similar to fair trade initiatives for agricultural products, have been developed for ASM activities. These focus on ensuring traceable and transparent supply chains, guaranteeing safe and healthy working practices, and providing additional premiums for community development projects as well as guaranteed minimum prices for miners.

Most of the focus and development of these fair trade certification initiatives for ASM to date have been with communities in Latin America, specifically Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru. However, in recent years a number of projects have worked to expand fair trade certification efforts into countries in East and West Africa, including in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

While significant progress and achievements have been made helping transform the lives and fortunes of many ASM communities and their families, there are some mixed reviews in the academic literature concerning the extent to which fair trade initiatives more broadly, as well as those specifically targeting ASM, can have a wider positive impact and effect genuine transformational change for the sector as a whole.

Some of the main organisations and initiatives involved in ethical mineral and fair trade certification schemes for ASM are: