Environment and Responsible Mining

At the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) we truly believe in the power of artisanal and small-scale mining to be more than a livelihood, but rather a sustainable environmental activity. For this reason, we support men and women miners in the creation and development of best practices by strengthening their knowledge in environmental conservation and promoting proper environmental management in their mining operations.

Environmental Management in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining

As part of the processes implementing the CRAFT-Fairmined criteria, ARM recognizes the legitimacy and importance of the legal instruments for environmental management, promoting the compliance with the regulations applicable to the territorial context of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). In addition, the standard promotes environmental protection practices, particularly on the management of toxic substances and protection of ecosystems.

In addition, ARM assistance and advice to ASM operations seek to provide tools and develop strategies for the implementation of best practices in artisanal and small-scale mining to reduce the impact on ecosystems.

ARM and Climate Change

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) supports miners in designing and implementing good practices aimed at strengthening Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, thus fostering their integration into the formal economy of mining operations, increasing community resilience, and addressing global challenges such as extreme poverty, climate change, and biodiversity loss.

Water Management


Protecting Water in Responsible Mining! Responsible small-scale mining must be aware of and mitigate its impact on water bodies. In the mining operations we support at ARM, we measure parameters of wastewater and the receiving rivers’ water quality and recommend water treatment systems.

Environmental Conservation and Restoration Activities

 Solid Waste Management

Being responsible with waste management is part of the journey toward ethical mining. In the mines we work with on the path to formalization and responsibility, we support learning to correctly separate waste generated in the mine and communities and households and how to reuse, reduce, and recycle

Top Stories and News

Small-Scale Mining in Boyacá, Colombia also Helps with Reforestation

A group of men and women miners in Paipa reforested a 2500 square meter estate in partnership with the Alliance for responsible Mining and Gensa under the framework of the Somos Tesoro (We are a Treasure) project.

How Does Small-Scale Mining Contribute to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation?

BLOG IN SPANISH: Lessons learned in mining territories, guidelines to prevent failure in restoration processes and contributions to national climate change programs.

Five tips to improve reforestation and revegetation efficiency in the face of climate change

The importance of reforestation processes is highlighted as one of the potential contributions that ASM can offer in face of the global climate agenda, as these processes do not only involve landscape improvements but also promote the restoration of ecosystem services.

Environmental Restoration Programs

Ongoing and Completed Projects on Environmental Issues

Somos Tesoro (We are a Treasure)

One of the longest projects in ARM that had a strong impact on reforestation, water and waste management.

Inclusive Miners

ARM has been actively working to reduce and eliminate the use of mercury in Peru. The second phase of the Ensemble project is currently underway focusing on water footprint and reforestation.

UNDP - United Nations Development Program

The implementation of demonstration processing plants will benefit several ASM miners to support better ore processing practices using alternatives to the use of mercury.

UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.


Forest Smart Mining

The Forest Smart Mining project seeks to create a roadmap for the improvement of environmental practices in artisanal and small-scale mining in natural forest ecosystems in collaboration with Levin Sources and World Bank Fauna & Flora International.

Resilient, Inclusive, Inclusive & Sustainable Environments (RISE) - A challenge to Address Gender-Based Violence in the Environment

The MIT D-Lab Inclusive Economies program and the Alliance for Responsible Mining have joined together to launch a two-year program addressing gender-based violence affecting women involved in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the Antioquia region of Colombia.

Ecological Gold

Based on set criteria, the Fairmined standard seeks to promote the progressive elimination of the use of mercury and cyanide. An additional premium is awarded for gold and associated precious metals produced under rigorous environmental practices, including forest restoration in high-biodiversity wilderness areas and ecological restoration of ecosystems.
Only gravimetric methods for mineral processing without using mercury or cyanide are accepted for this certification.

The Use of Mercury in Small-Scale Mining

Following the entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in August 2017 and considering that the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is one of the main sources of pollution around the world, ARM adopted a stance on the use of mercury in gold ASM.

Methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury, can enter the human body more quickly through the respiratory system, water and food. One of the most common diseases caused by mercury poisoning is Minamata disease, which mainly affects the neurological system and includes the following symptoms:

Loss of peripheral vision and damage to hearing
Cardiovascular diseases.

Given the serious health effects of mercury exposure, our organization has the responsibility to raise awareness among the artisanal and small-scale mining sector about the impact of mercury in order to propose adequate production alternatives that are beneficial to miners without posing risks to the environment and surrounding communities.

Alternatives to Reduce the Use of Mercury in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining

As part of our work to promote best practices among artisanal and small-scale miners, ARM has just released a video to inform about the impact of mercury on human health and the environment, as well as to promote the reduction and elimination of mercury in gold mining.

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