2020 State of the ASM Sector Report Learn about artisanal and small-scale mining's contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 8 in our new report

Creation of a Sustainable Mining Program through Formalization of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners

This report is the academic product of a Spring 2019 Capstone Workshop (Capstone) at Columbia University SIPA. The Capstone team, the authors of this report, consisted of seven students from SIPA and two students from Columbia Law School. It reflects research and analysis conducted between January and April 2019 including travel to Nigeria. The Capstone is supervised by SIPA faculty advisors Christine Capilouto and Jenik Radon.

The Government of Nigeria, as detailed in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), has decided to place a strategic focus on solid minerals in an effort to diversify the economy. As part of this effort, the government instituted the SMDF. The SMDF is a fund that was created in the 2007 Minerals and Mining Act (the 2007 Act) to catalyze growth in the solid minerals sector. The 2007 Act tasks the SMDF with developing the human and physical capacity of the sector; funding geo-scientific data gathering, storage, and retrieval; equipping mining institutions to perform their statutory functions; funding extension services to artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operators; and provide mining infrastructure.

The initial scope of work for the Capstone team was to assist the SMDF with its broader mandate, whereby the SMDF specifically indicated its efforts and policy objectives to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and international mining companies to the Nigerian mining sector. Through a process of internal discussions between the SMDF and the Capstone team, it became clear that a more pressing priority was to address the existence of a large informal mining sector, which has substantial negative effects on the attractiveness of the sector as a whole. We especially focus on gold mining since it is the primary mineral extracted by artisanal miners. Notably, artisanal mining contributes to the risky investment environment which is keeping FDI and large mining companies away from Nigeria. Therefore, formalizing miners is a necessary step for the SMDF, and the government as a whole, to achieve their objectives. We focus on the registration of miners, which is the first step of the formalization process, and more specifically on artisanal miners who, for the purpose of this project and report, are distinguished from small-scale miners.

Additional Info

Ango, M., Blessing, M., Choquette, B., Erdenebat, B., Jagdish, S., Kamara, A. M; Tang, K.Y., Wideroth, A. and Worthington, J.
Publication Year
Publishing Institution Webpage
Data Source Classification
Academic Study
Research Type
Research Methodology
Thematic Tags
Political, Formalization, Governance, Supply Chains, Economic, Access to Markets, Business Models, Export, Finance, Government Revenue, Income, Social, Employment, Gender, Health and Safety, Human Rights, Labor and Working Conditions, Livelihoods, Technological, Education and Training, Mine Life Cycle, Legal, Land Rights, Laws and Regulations, Licensing, Mineral Rights, Tax
Cassiterite, Coltan, Gemstones, Gold, Lead, Tantalum, Tin, Zinc
Sub-Saharan Africa
Last Updated
June 25, 2021