Artisanal mining refers to informal, rudimentary or small-scale mining, and is often found in areas where exploration companies are active or in and around a mining site. Artisanal mining can create severe security and safety challenges for companies and often leads to conflict with the local community. Below are some examples of how Canadian mining and exploration companies have engaged with informal or artisanal miners:
Responses by Company
Angkor Gold Corp.
If the artisanal miners are citizens of the country, we will educate them on safe procedures to protect the environment and their families. And we buy their gold at spot price. It makes sense to assist the locals in improving practice because they can be great explorers for us, and improving their skill sets helps build a more ethical industry. We are looking at far greater depths than these local miners.
We partner with many local and international NGOs. For example, in a program to rescue child artisanal miners and provide them with a future, we partnered with a local NGO, Association for the Protection of Families and Children, in integrating 100 former child artisanal miners into a 3 year educational program with psychological counselling, and provided another 100 older children with livelihood skills training programs, such sewing, carpentry and mechanics.
Barrick Gold Corp.
Barrick has operations which are adjacent to artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) communities, primarily in Papua New Guinea and Peru. The individuals and groups engaged in ASM near our operations are important stakeholders and we engage with them with a view to a safe, healthy, and profitable co-existence. For example, in Peru it has been estimated that approximately 50,000 families are involved in artisanal mining, most of them in rural areas, including the area near our Lagunas Norte mine.
The current state of artisanal mining in Peru is unregulated and challenging. As part of our community engagement activities, we are supporting the formalization process for artisanal mining launched by the Peruvian government. The development and legalization of artisanal miners through this formalization process will provide access for the ASM community to credit and markets, along with safer working conditions. To start this process, Barrick developed a socio-economic base line with the ASM communities and signed an Exploitation Agreement. Currently (in 2015) these ASM groups are requesting their formal permit approval from the Peruvian Government.
No artisanal or small-scale mining was reported on any of our sites. However, the access road to our El Morro site is adjacent to the property of a small-scale mining association. The site maintains a close relationship with that local association.
Kinross Gold Corp.
The only location where small-scale mining occurred on or near our sites was the Fruta Del Norte project in Ecuador (which Kinross sold in 2014). In that case, Kinross worked with the Ministry for Non-renewable Natural Resources to develop a strategy for formalization of Artisanal and small-scale (ASM) gold mining activity on its concessions resulting in the formalization of eight artisanal mining operations.
The following companies indicated that they have developed CSR practices that address informal or artisanal mining and miners, but declined to provide any further details:
- Endeavour Silver Corp.
- Nortec Minerals Corp.