From December 6-7, 2022 the World Bank brought together over 140 practitioners and experts in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) from around the world to reflect on the lessons learned from the Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) Covid-19 emergency response to ASM communities, and to discuss ways to improve ASM practice going forward. Over the course of two days, over 50 speakers shared their experience and debated views on ASM in relation to health and OHS, supply chains, finance, sexual and gender-based violence, alternative livelihoods, access to markets, access to land, and partnerships development.
The conference agenda and speaker details are available at:
From the Mines: Case Studies and Testimonies
Day one of the conference set out with case studies and testimonies from partner organizations and miners who participated in the COVID-19 Emergency Response Window: The Delve Exchange, Health Focus, Women’s Right to Education Program, The Responsible Jewelry Transformative, and the University of São Paulo. These testimonies emphasized the health and socio-economic challenges for miners during Covid-19 and the creation of responses to overcome these.
Has Covid 19 revolutionized ASM practice around the globe?
The question whether Covid has been a good opportunity for ASM was debated by leading ASM practitioners presenting both sides of the argument, the main pro and con being that while Covid had led to better data on public health and gender, there was increased food insecurity and economic vulnerability. A slight majority of conference participants agreed in a live poll that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a positive opportunity for formalization.
Disrupting supply chains for the better
The disruption of gemstone and diamond supply chains in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was at the center of this session with key insights and lessons learned from Pact’s miner-to-market gemstone collaboration Moyo Gems, Virtu Gem’s supply chain initiative during the global pandemic, and DeBeer’s GemFair program which connects artisanal and small-scale miners to the global market.
Digital technologies in responsible mining
Innovations and digital technologies in the ASM sector, as well as governance issues, and the impacts of digital technologies on formalization were explored through the lens of digital applications, as well as digital financial tools and services currently available to ASM miners.
From the mines up: building coalition for change
The Delve Exchange network of miners for miners and its six regional networks Africa (English), Africa (French), Latin America, South and Central Asia and Southeast Asia Pacific presented their work in growing the Delve Exchange in their region- including successes, challenges and tips for others who need to grow their associations from the ‘ground up’.
How can we make OHS attractive?
This session centered around a call for action on health and safety measures from government and the global health community, urgent responses to public health emergencies, national TB prevention strategies, including reduced use of mercury and silica dust controls, as well as OHS as a centerpiece in ESG performance.
Ending SGBV for good
This session examined key barriers and avenues for eliminating SGBV in mining communities by drawing on lessons from organizations that have embraced an integrated approach of addressing SGBV through awareness on gender norms, inequalities and notions of masculinity, engagement of men, collaboration between civil society, the private sector and government, and economic empowerment of women by means of alternative/complementary livelihoods.
New partnerships for mine development
This plenary emphasized the need for projects to establish good partnerships, including with government, if they are to succeed. The session covered co-existence models between ASGM entities and conventional gold mining companies in Latin America; Central Bank engagement in ASM globally and the interface between ASGM and LSM; experience and lessons learned on partnerships with women-led and women-managed ASM entities; as well as public-private partnerships in the DRC.
Closing session: Where do we go from here?
In an open mic discussion, conference participants were invited to reflect on alternatives to the term ASM formalization, important takeaways from the conference, as well as specific commitments they can make to their mining communities and ASM practice.