• Goldhub
  • Insights
  • ESG Video Series: Artisanal and small-scale gold mining
  • ESG Video Series: Artisanal and small-scale gold mining

    8 February, 2022

    Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is very different to large scale-mining (LSM) in the way it’s regulated, the way in which the gold is mined and in the complexity of the metallurgical processes. The World Gold Council and its member companies support the responsible mining and trading of gold from all legitimate sources, including ASGM. The responsible development of gold resources both through large-scale mining LSM and ASGM, when coupled with sound governance, has the potential to deliver broad social and economic benefits to individuals, communities and countries. LSM typically involves hundreds of millions of dollars of capital investment, high-skilled jobs and the payment of significant taxes and royalties to fund public services. ASGM generates large numbers of low-skilled jobs.

    There has been a significant growth in artisanal and small-scale mining in many developing countries over the last twenty years. ASM issues have become more salient in public policy debates as a result of the adoption of instruments designed to prevent the misuse of gold and other minerals to funding of illegal armed groups and from the implementation of the Minamata Treaty on reducing mercury in the environment. Many large-scale mining companies are seeking to work with ASGM groups in the vicinity of their operations to help improve their social and environmental performance and to support responsible ASGM groups to obtain access to mainstream gold markets, and thereby reducing their vulnerability to predatory ‘middle-men’. The World Gold Council advocates for the formalisation of responsible ASGM operations.

    In some situations, LSM and ASGM entities may compete for access to resources but the ore bodies suitable for development by either LSM or ASGM are generally very different. It is for governments to make judgements about their preferred development model for their mineral resources.

    To hear more around the topic of artisanal and small-scale gold mining please watch the below video.