Artisanal and small-scale mining
Gold mining Gold is mined all over the worldâ€Ś ...either in highly mechanized industrial minesâ€Ś
â€Śor in artisanal and small-scale mines (ASM).
Artisanal and small-scale mining
While artisanal and small-scale mining is responsible for an estimated 10-20% of global production it employs 90% of the workforce behind gold extraction. It is often performed in rural communities, using simple tools or technologies.
It is hard manual work and often a poverty driven activity.
Approximately 10-15 million gold miners and their families are dependent on this economic activity to make a living. That is about half of the total amount of artisanal miners in the world. *
* According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) ÂŠ Nigel Wright
Negative image of the sector Irresponsible use of toxic chemicals
Air contamination Greater gender inequality
Fuelling of conflicts
Health & saftey risks Negative impacts on communties
Water & soil contamination
Hazardous & exploitative conditions
BUT: Despite all these challenges this sector has incredible potential to contribute to local & national development.
The Alliance for Responsible Mining
The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM)
Not-for-profit organization established in 2004.
Global leading expert on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).
Headquarter: Colombia. Project interventions: Latin America, Africa, Asia. Our aim: Enhance equity and well-being for ASM communities.
Our mission is to set standards for responsible artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and to support and enable producers to deliver Fairmined certified metals and minerals through economically just supply chains to the markets, in order to
contribute towards the transformation of the sector into a socially and environmentally responsible activity and to the improvement of the quality of life of marginalized artisanal miners, their families and communities.
Our vision is for artisanal and small-scale mining to become a formalized, organized
and profitable activity that uses efficient technologies, and is socially and environmentally responsible. It is a vision of a sector that increasingly develops within a framework of good governance, legality, participation and respect for
diversity and that increases its contribution to the generation of decent work, local development, poverty reduction and social peace in our nations, driven by a growing consumer demand for sustainable minerals and ethical jewelry.
Our core strategies
Assisting miners on the ground
Developing standards and certification systems
Building responsible gold supply chains and markets
Promoting inclusive policies in the mining sector
Assisting miners on the ground
© Nigel Wright
© Manuela Franco
Mining organizations © Manuela Franco
ARM’s miners support unit has the closest link to:
Individual miners Women jewelry groups
Assisting miners on the ground Identifying beneficiary groups & relationship building Mercury reduction/elimination Technical and socio-economic characterization & support Designing improvement plans & needs assessment Holistic support, monitoring and evaluation Improving administrative, economic, environmental, labor and community practice
Developing standards and certification systems Develop Standards that promote responsible and fair practices in the ASM sector.
Establish third party certification and audit systems that ensure that artisanal mining communities comply with the requirements of the Standards.
Facilitate access to fair markets for ASM all over the world through the Certification System.
Fairmined Certification creates opportunities for miners and gives the mining organizations incentives to become responsible in economical, technological and environmental manners.
Building responsible gold supply chains and markets The Fairmined Initiative and Business Development Unit support Fairmined certified mining organizations in accessing the market and find buyers.
Create communication channels between buyers and miners.
Support the establishment of efficient and responsible supply chains.
Promote Fairmined certified gold within the gold industry.
Building responsible gold supply chains and markets Influence public policies so that regulatory frameworks are inclusive and favorable to ASM.
Work towards the recognition of the sector as a legitimate player on local, national and international level. Enable dialogues between the sector's players and construct knowledge and experience exchange networks. Strengthen local actors' capacities to help them participate in an effective and responsible manner in advocacy and policy-making processes. High level advocacy in countries where the Fairmined Standard is being implemented.
Provide trustworthy and relevant information on ASM.
Examples of implemented projects Year
Country of intervention
Description of projects
Reduction of the vulnerability to child labor; strengthen state, civil society and capacities of community institutions to be able to protect children, improve occupational security and health; formalize ASM.
Colombia, Peru & Bolivia
Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali
Democratic Republic of the Congo
1) Improve capacities of local organizations to support the certification and formalization of the sector; 2) Strengthen market incentives for formalization and sustainability of ASM; 3) Connect ASM to formal global markets; 4) Dissemination and knowledge management. Assist the Cameroonian Ministry for Mining, Industry and Technology in the creation of a methodology to improve competitiveness, structure and practice of the artisanal mining sector, and facilitating the implementation of a pilot project in supporting mining organizations in two regions. Create a fair gold supply chain in West Africa and reduce the use of mercury in extractive processes. Study about conflict gold through a comparative analysis of the mining code and a proposed roadmap for formalization and establishment of an inclusive mining sector. Development and implementation of a certification system for artisanal gold mining, with the objective of mitigating environmental damage caused by artisanal mining activities.
Countries where ARM has worked
DR Kongo Brazil
Institutions and NGOs
ARM works with more
than mining organizations in projects.
Around mining organizations are working towards Fairmined Certification.
There are Fairmined certified mining organizations in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Mongolia.
More than Fairmined Gold is being produced per year.
More than of Fairmined Gold sold within 2 years of the Fairmined Initiative.
More than businesses work with Fairmined Gold.
Impact Since 2014,
$1,023,000 in Fairmined Premium was paid to certified mining organizations.
2016 Q1 2015
$ 460,000 ÂŠ ARM
Impact Fairmined Gold was used to fabricate international prizes
Palme Dâ€™Or of the Cannes Film Festival
Nobel Peace Prize
6,800 direct beneficiaries.
© Nigel Wright © Nigel Wright
Over 14,500 indirect beneficiaries.