Thursday, February 16, 2017

SMS System Helps Miners Get Better Value for Their Gold

Artisanal gold miners often operate in remote areas where they work long and hard extracting and processing ore to produce small batches of gold. This gold is then sold to a local gold buyer; however, because the price of gold fluctuates daily in international markets, one of the challenges for artisanal miners in these remote areas is having access to the daily spot price of gold in order to ensure they are receiving a fair price.


Miners in Peru using the SMS system



To assist miners in Peru in this regard the AGC has partnered with ULULA, a Toronto and New York based social innovation venture that has built a software and analytics platform to help organizations engage with some of the world's hardest to reach stakeholders. Together we have developed an SMS text messaging system whereby miners can quickly and easily receive the spot price of gold by sending a text message to the system provider. Each reply, in addition to providing the spot price, includes an important message relevant to the sector. These include messages promoting best-practices on health, environment, gender equity, as well as key updates pertaining to the ongoing formalization process for artisanal mining.

This ULULA SMS system was initially piloted and launched in December of 2016 in Chaparra, Arequipa with the help of a local NGO, Red Social. Miners collaborated by providing input and feedback on the design, affordability, message content and their needs. After its successful uptake (up to 60 messages were being sent daily within a month) the system is now being promoted in other regions in Peru, enabling artisanal miners to access more transparency while at the same time promoting responsible practices in the ASGM sector.
A flyer explaining the SMS system to Peruvians



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The Artisanal Gold Council is a registered non-profit organization that improves the environmental and economic sustainability of artisanal and small scale gold mining communities.