Over 4 years (2019-2023), the SANU KURA project provided a pathway to a promising future for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Burkina Faso. Funded by the European Union through its Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), this ambitious project transformed the mining landscape by creating legal and viable production and marketing channels. The results are positive for the mining communities involved in economic, social and environmental aspects in Burkina Faso.
The SANU KURA project has had a significant impact on local communities, benefiting 2,456 people, including 982 men and 1,474 women. It has provided essential support for the creation of 23 mining groups, comprising 17 associations and 6 cooperatives (7 associations and 3 cooperatives in the Centre-North, 6 associations and 3 cooperatives in the Centre-West and 4 associations in the South-West).
The SANU KURA project is a model of success in promoting responsible and sustainable artisanal and small-scale mining in Burkina Faso. Through its considerable efforts in the areas of health, safety, environment, social organisation, economy and technology, it has left an indelible mark on the country’s development. The positive impact of this project will last well beyond its closure in 2023, making Burkina Faso an example of artisanal and small-scale mining worldwide.
Learn about the main positive impacts of the project:
The project took important steps to promote environmentally friendly mining techniques. It implemented waste and effluent management systems at 9 mining sites, contributing to the preservation of local ecosystems. In addition, the project was able to significantly reduce the use of mercury at 6 mining sites, representing an important step towards environmental sustainability.
Improvements in occupational health and safety
The SANU KURA project put safety at the centre by training 36 workers in good health and safety practices, including first aid. It also raised awareness among more than 1,000 workers about the risks associated with the use of mercury, thus helping to protect the health of artisanal miners. Thanks to this project, 3 mercury-free processing plants were set up at the Memer, Guido and Pagdin mining sites, and 06 in rotation at the mining sites (Pagdin, Guido, Bepoidyr, Poa, Urbi and Memer), and carried out crucial awareness-raising campaigns on the dangers of mercury.
In addition, personal protective equipment (PPE) was provided to each mining organisation to improve safety in the field. The project also implemented emergency protocols and accident response plans at 9 mining sites, ensuring a rapid response in case of need. In addition, a medical assessment related to mercury exposure of 9 artisanal miners was carried out, further strengthening health surveillance.
A comprehensive report on the management of the COVID- 19 pandemic at the 10 mining sites was also produced.
The project developed 3 multi-stakeholder local action plans based on the discussion and engagement of the different actors involved in local governance. In addition, 10 improvement plans were developed and validated for each mining site, covering aspects such as human rights, reproductive health, community governance, financial education, health, safety and hygiene at work.
In addition, the project trained 45 civil servants and public sector actors in standards of responsible business conduct in relation to conflict minerals and other natural resource extraction.
A participatory communication strategy was developed to raise awareness of priority issues for mining communities and interactive radio and TV programmes were organised.
Supply chain, technology and economic opportunities
The SANU KURA Project has opened up new economic perspectives for artisanal miners, in particular the creation of economic opportunities in the artisanal mining sector through the connection to the formal market on the basis of responsible production models – CRAFT or FAIRMINED – that respond to the expectations of the sector.
As a result, 60% of the mining sites have significantly improved their level of formalisation in relation to the CRAFT Code and the Fairmined Standard. As a result, more than 1,000 partially or fully formal jobs have been formalised in pilot sites and related activities. This represents an important and responsible step forward for the artisanal gold mining sector in Burkina Faso.
In addition, 500 women were trained in saponification, financial literacy, business plan development, credit application procedures and support for poultry and small ruminant rearing through endowments, thus strengthening their knowledge and capacity to thrive in the sector.
The project has also contributed to improving the gold supply chain by identifying actors, providing training on the CRAFT Code, strengthening traceability of the gold produced and meeting the requirements of the formal gold market in the case of Memer.
Finally, the SANU KURA project has adopted innovative technologies to optimise mining processes, the development of environmentally friendly ore processing methods and the
implementation of technological solutions for mining data management with the MAPE Progress App digital platform.