Impacts study of COVID-19 in artisanal mining communities: The Alliance for Responsible Mining is mobilizing!
From May 11th to July 31st 2020, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) is participating in a global data collection on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in artisanal mining communities.
Recently, the OECD Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group of the implementation programme for the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, of which the Alliance for Responsible Mining and Solidaridad are members, made a public call for action highlighting the relevance of the sector as a potential development agent, emphasizing on the vulnerability situations that it endures (aggravated due to the pandemic), and strongly suggesting to continue and extend the support toward its development and inclusion in formal markets.
The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) selected 14 mining units in 2019, which were analyzed for CRAFT risks of breaches focused on commercial, health and safety at work, environmental, management, among other factors. From this point, men and women miners of the municipality, along with ARM, created improvement designs for the implementation of this plan with the support of key allies in the territory.
42 Pallaqueras (women mineral selectors), who are members of MACDESA (a Fairmined certified mining organization) in Arequipa, received food baskets as support due to the current conditions they are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Pallaqueras are artisanal miners who work handpicking rocks with precious metal content. Since the quarantine started in this country, in March 2020, these women had to suspend their mining activities. Therefore, they stopped earning their income.
The MIT D-Lab Inclusive Economies program and the Alliance for Responsible Mining in Colombia have joined together to launch a two-year program addressing gender-based violence affecting women engaged in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the Antioquia region of Colombia. The project uses an innovative movement-building approach to foster women miners’ associations and homegrown advocacy to address social and economic gender-based violence in mining communities in Andes, Zaragoza, Nechi, and El Bagre in Antioquia, Colombia.
As part of our work to promote best practices among artisanal and small-scale miners, we have released a video to inform about the impact of mercury on health and the environment, as well as to promote the elimination of mercury use in gold mining. Although Colombia releases 75 tons of mercury per year, which is relatively less than other countries, the impact of mercury is much greater in proportion to the country’s population. Consequently, many communities living near mining sites are more vulnerable to the effects of these polluting emissions.
As COVID-19 sweeps the globe, affecting the health and lives of millions, the pandemic is wreaking further economic havoc on the lives of artisanal, small scale miners and their communities. 83% of the world’s mining workforce relies on these mines for their livelihood. That comes to roughly 40.5 million people. These people were vulnerable before COVID-19 and even more so now.
ARM continues to broaden our horizons, and 2020 is a good opportunity to rethink and renew. As an organization founded in Colombia, on our road to “globalization” we have aimed at maintaining our identity of the south, rooted in the realities of the territories where we work.
From March 8 to 11 of 2020, we had the opportunity to participate in the first edition of the Ghana Gold Expo in Takoradi, an event co-organized by the Government of the Western Ghana region with Aurum Monaco. This event was attended by representatives of institutions, small-scale miners, actors in the supply chain, civil society, among others.
On march 30, we launched the Craft 2.0 revision worldwide, which has a very important purpose: that we all become part of the improvement of the CRAFT Code, which is in its second revision. This improvement will contribute to the connection between miners and formal markets. Craft is for everyone, so it must be built by everyone!
On March 3 and 4, the Empowerment of Mining Women event was held in the municipality of Suárez – village la Turbina-, which was jointly organized by The Alliance for Responsible Mining, UNDP and Comunica, which included the participation of the GEF GOLD project: integrated management for the elimination of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining, from the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.
Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) provides livelihoods for about 40 million people worldwide, representing 90% of the gold mining sector workforce and generating around 20% of their annual production . In the context of the global crisis generated by COVID-19, this population is exposed to a number of particular vulnerabilities that need to be urgently assessed at the global, national and local levels to take action to mitigate their impact.
On December 5th and 6th of 2019, the Colombia Regional Workshop (Antioquia) was carried out, which reflected on the main challenges, barriers and lessons learned from the artisanal and small-scale mining sector (ASM). We discussed access to mining resources, mining formalization, the elimination of mercury, the commercialization of gold and the role of public institutions and civil society in promoting the sector. How can we make small-scale mining more responsible?
Artisanal mining in Chocó, Colombia is an ancestral way of life for the local population. Historically, this activity has been marginalized and often the miners have not had access to effective tools and resources to formalize and improve their working conditions, finding barriers that prevent them from complying with market requirements.
The Alliance for Responsible Mining team would like to thank you for your support in 2019. We hope that in 2020 there will be more social justice for the improvement of the quality of life for mining communities living in vulnerable situations. Here you will find 3 proposals to contribute to the improvement of artisanal mining territories.
We attended the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP3) in order to bring several decisions and orientations that are fundamental to the objectives of the convention to the table.
The association Divinas en Brillo de Oro, made up of some members of La Central de Cooperativas Minero Metalúrgicas de Puno (CECOMIP), exhibited more than 50 silver jewels, including earrings, rings, and necklaces, designed and made by themselves.
Within the framework of the partnership with Solidarity-Ghana, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) developed a workshop from Wednesday the 16th to Thursday the 17th of October in Tarkwa, the Western Region of Ghana.
After a launch at national level in May, the municipality of Réo, in the Centre-ouest region, hosted its first regional workshop launch of the EU-funded “Project to Support the Creation of a Legal and Responsible Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in Burkina Faso”.
ARM hosted the regional workshop in the city of Chala, Peru, where the formalization requirements were discussed; The different members of the supply chain collaborated in order to expedite the marketing and exporting processes, and access loans. Miners also exchanged stories about their experiences during the internship at the MACDESA mining organization.