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Mitigating the Activities of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners in Africa: Challenges for Engineering and Technological Institutions

By Stephen J. Mallo


Abstract: The urgent demand for appropriate mitigation of the activities of Artisanal and Small-scale Miners in Africa has become necessary in view of the immense contribution of the mining activities to poverty alleviation in the continent. The concept of appropriate social contract for artisanal and small-scale mining(ASM) emerged amid calls for more humane working conditions for this cadre of miners, whose contribution to the alleviation of poverty especially in the developing nations of the world has been recognized by the United Nations. The sector which is a form of subsistence mining provides a direct or indirect livelihood for over 100 million people in the developing world out of which about 5 million are from Africa. Of particular note is the contribution of this sector to the world supply of strategic minerals for industrial growth and advancement. The presence of ASM is very often associated with challenges, including poor environmental, health and safety practices, the spread of communicable disease, heightened security risks to neighboring communities and operations, child and forced labour, inequitable distribution of benefits in communities and an illegal trade in minerals such as gold, coltan, diamonds, construction materials etc. There is overwhelming consensus that the current worldwide natural resource constraints and the high rising cost of mineral investment and ecosystem pressures require new economic and social contract trajectories which should protect the interests of the Artisanal and Small-scale Miners. These trajectories should address alternatives exploration, mining/processing methods and marketing of vital minerals in an environmentally safe manner while improving the economic status of the miners. It is already the mainstream economy of the future, which i

Year: 2014
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