A delegation composed of several officials and representatives from the public and private sectors of Mongolia (government officials, governors of mining regions, Central Bank personnel and representatives from a mining union, among others) shared their experiences on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) with authorities and several industry figures from Colombia and Ecuador in late May.
The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) organized and facilitated for various authorities from both host countries to meet with members from the Mongolian delegation. These joint meetings and visits encouraged the different countries to share positive experiences in relation to the development of the mining sector, exchange opinions on issues related to supply chains and foster important debates for the sector.
The issues addressed ranged from traditional mining in various landscapes to the policies for supporting formalization, as well as talks about technology, environment and trade, among others.
In Colombia, important figures such as Mining Vice-Minister Carlos Cante, Director of Mining Formalization Mónica Grand, and the President of the Mining Association of Colombia, Santiago Ángel, participated in the visit, introducing the government’s formalization program, as well as highlighting the mercury context and the Sector Strategic Plan that is currently on the Colombian agenda. The program for the support of subsistence miners (Sí Minero) that started in 2018 and intends to foster employability, good practices and productive projects was also discussed. The National Mining Agency also shared experiences with the Mongolian delegation, as did Alloy Refinery and the Jewelry Cluster of Bogotá, among others.
The Mongolian delegation mentioned the similarities between the two countries, especially in regard to the amount of gold produced, and drew parallels with the issue of illegal mineral extraction and the latent need to recognize the needs of ASM based on each context within the same country.
In Ecuador, stakeholders such as the country’s Mining Ministry, members of the Central Bank and the National Geological-Mining-Metallurgic Research Institute (Instituto Nacional de Investigación Geológico Minero Metalúrgico), among other stakeholders of the industry and mining companies, as well as miners, shared their opinions.
In a country such as Ecuador that has historically been dependent on ASM’s economic activities, and which are now much more limited than they were in the past, artisanal mining and the importance of supporting it was discussed. The talks also touched on the difficulty of implementing a strategy tailored to a time in which major mining operations are given priority. In addition, many opinions about analysis traceability processes and their quality for a state-managed purchasing scheme were exchanged, which includes the sale on international markets and, consequently, taking into account the processes of due diligence and the need to know the origin of the gold.
After several meetings and visits to mines in the Nambija region, Zamora Department, Chinchipe, during which we engaged in discussions with miners in the formalization process who are committed to best practices, here at ARM we want to thank the positive participation of the various stakeholders, which will help foster collaboration. Our exchanges with the delegation have been very enriching, especially in regard to a more continuous support by ARM for the development of an officially certified gold supply chain from Mongolia. These meetings allowed us to better understand the context and problems of such a remote mining country.