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The Effect of Changing Gold Prices on Artisanal Mining

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Over the past year as the price of gold has fallen, many have asked how artisanal miners will be affected. Some have speculated that the drop in the price of gold would lead to less artisanal mining activity - as it has for the industrial gold mining sector. But this is not generally the case. On the contrary, in many places it continues to grow. And this has also been true historically. Even through the 1990's when the gold price descended to levels 4 or 5 times lower than today's, artisanal mining persisted and continued without any significant contraction.
For the majority of artisanal miners there is simply no other job that pays anywhere near as much
A falling gold price may slow the growth in artisanal mining but rarely leads to the kind of reductions and contractions that are symptomatic of the formal large scale mining and gold exploration businesses. In large part this is because the wages earned by artisanal miners are much greater than their rural agricultural alter…