Researchers from SÜDWIND and BICC traveled to gold mines in the DR Congo and Peru in the framework of a joint project to find out which measures can help small-scale and artisanal miners to secure their livelihood in regions of conflict and to improve social and ecological mining standards.
The price of gold has risen sharply in the past years. This has led to an ever growing number of artisanal miners in this sector worldwide. They often work under poor social and ecological conditions. In regions of conflict, mines are often under the control of armed groups or former combatants can be found amongst the artisanal miners. At the same time, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and enterprises are developing approaches to regulation which are to guarantee certain social and ecological standards when digging for gold.
Against this background, BICC and SÜDWIND visited mines in Peru and the DR Congo to find out which kinds of organizational systems for small-scale miners could contribute to enforcing social and ecological improvements in artisanal gold mining and whether certification processes could also be a positive approach to this. The outcomes of this research, which is supported by Misereor, the Church Development Service (EED), the Foundation Umwelt und Entwicklung NRW (SUE), and the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse in Bonn, is now available as BICC brief 46.
The first part of BICC brief 46 gives an overview of the world market for gold and the interconnected development of artisanal and small-scale mining. Existing approaches towards an improvement of living conditions in gold mining are also presented. This is followed by country case studies, which show and analyze the political framework conditions, the socio-economic conditions of small-scale mining as well as exisiting certification and organization efforts in regions of Peru and the DR Congo. The final part collates the results of the case studies and evaluates the potential of various measures for improving living conditions of artisanal and small-scale miners.
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