Strategies for sustainable and inclusive mining and trading.

Mineral Sector Development

 Strategies for sustainable and inclusive mining and trading.

Artisanal and small-scale mining makes significant economic and social contributions to economies and societies in around seventy countries. Its proportional importance to world mineral markets is substantial in terms of volume and/or value (>10% diamonds, gold; approx. 80% for coloured stones). It provides a livelihood to tens of millions of people, and is the basis for economic growth and job creation in thousands of rural communities. At the same time, ASM can generate a range of social and environmental ills if it occurs without suitable management of the risks associated with who is mining, and where, why and how they’re mining. Forced or voluntary informality and marginalization by regulators impedes the management of these issues, and problems are worse than they need to be. ELL works with development agencies and governments to support the professionalization of ASM and its transformation into a positive contributor to economic and social development.

We do this by deploying commercial, development and sustainability lenses to a situation in order to understand what is already there, what is working, and what needs to be changed, always listening to and learning from the miners, their communities, and stakeholders to a build the picture from these various and occasionally opposed points of view. ELL can then help stakeholders envisage a more sustainable mineral sector (that is built on commercial viability) and develop a strategy towards achieving this.

In practice, this means we use methods to characterise the history, governance and political economy of mineral trading chains in a country; review legislation; conduct stakeholder analysis; and baseline and assess the demographic and livelihoods characteristics of the miners, the minerals mined and their geography, the principal mining and processing techniques and trading practices and the associated social, economic, political, and environmental risks, impacts and opportunities that these present, amongst other aspects. We typically are brought in to support clients encourage and enable formalization of a sector, good governance, rehabilitation / reclamation, introduction of responsible mining practices, economic development based on ASM, introduction of ‘fair trade’ or other systems for incentivizing responsible trading chains and business practices.

We have been advising on mineral sector reform since our director worked for USAID on the Peace Diamond Alliance in Sierra Leone in 2004. We work for a range of clients, including the World Bank, UN agencies, USAID, DFID, GIZ, and SDC, either directly or through a contracting NGO or larger consultancy.