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Professionalization of the Artisanal Gold Mining Sector

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When asked what the Artisanal Gold Council’s mission is and about my own vision for the improvement of the artisanal gold mining sector, I explain that it is mainly two simple things. First, it is about the improvement of the artisanal gold mining sector writ large so that it can better perform its role in delivering development to the rural poor, essentially helping the sector to deliver the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). And secondly, that the approach we use to do this, is professionalization, that we aim to professionalize the artisanal gold mining sector. In fact, professionalization of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector (ASGM) is largely what the Artisanal Gold Council does. To draw attention to this approach, I have been using the tag lines: #ProfessionalizeASGM #ProfessionalizeArtisanalMining #ProfessionalizeGold

What does this really mean, to professionalize the artisanal gold mining sector, and why do it?

To begin with, there are many different pos…

The Media's demonization of the Artisanal Gold Mining sector isn't helping

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The Miami Herald in 2018 and now Buzzfeed and the NYT in 2019 have published, once again, the typical easy story on alluvial gold mining in the Amazon: The very simplistic and oft repeated "mining is bad" story. They cast a pall over any and all that are involved in artisanal mining. What they report is not entirely untrue, but it is far from representative of the vast world of artisanal mining in the 82 countries where it occurs. Worse though, is that stories like this damage the fragile peace that has been obtained between governments and artisanal miners the world over during the last decade. The peace has been largely brokered by the UN and the OECD with their initiatives on mercury pollution (the Minamata Convention) and transparency (Due Diligence in the Gold Supply Chain). Mostly what the UN and OECD have championed though, is recognition of the huge development opportunity the artisanal gold mining sector represents. Helping the sector become a responsible one contr…