Artisanal and Small-Scaling Mining in West and Central Africa: Strategic Lessons from the Field
School of Geography
221 Bouverie Street
Approximately 40 million people worldwide work in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), which describes mining conducted by individuals, families, or groups using rudimentary and often non-mechanised processes to extract minerals or gems. Accounting for approximately 20 percent of the world’s production of gold, diamonds, tin, and tantalum, and 80 percent of coloured gemstones, ASM is a major source of minerals for electronics, investment (in the case of gold), and jewellery.
ASM has economic potential but also many challenges, such as environmental degradation; uneven distribution of benefits; conflicting claims to resource rights; illicit trade, armed conflict, corruption, human rights, and labour violations; and discriminatory practices.
Dr. Mark Freudenberger will share strategic lessons learned from applied field research and implementation of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and European Union programming in ASM in West and Central Africa.
Reflections will centre on five strategic themes:
1) Debates around the “formalisation” of the ASM sector;
2) Contradictions in co-management the ASM sector by the state and artisanal miners;
3) ASM contributions to rural economies and results from environmental rehabilitation;
4) Challenges of mechanisation;
5) Strategies for addressing power asymmetries and corruption within the sector.
Dr Mark Freudenberger, Senior Associate
Dr Mark Freudenberger
Dr. Mark Freudenberger is a leader in the field of global climate change, deforestation, and land use with over 30 years of experience designing, implementing, evaluating, and providing strategic direction to natural resource programs across the Global South. Most recently, he served as the Director of the Land Tenure and Property Rights Sector at Tetra Tech ARD responsible for coordinating a $100 million portfolio of resource tenure programs. Currently, as Senior Associate, he directly manages projects focused on deforestationfree cacao in Ghana, artisanal mining and property rights in the Central African Republic, and natural resource management in Madagascar. Throughout his career, Dr. Freudenberger has provided significant thought leadership around community resource governance and vulnerable peoples’ inclusion in global and national climate and land use agendas, publishing significant peer reviewed publications directed to governments, multilateral institutions, leading NGOs, and the private sector. Skilled as a convener of policy making forums bridging the gap between rural peoples and national and international policy makers, he has contributed to significant policy and legal reforms on resource tenure throughout his career. As a veteran manager, he has overseen dispersed teams across multiple continents, coordinated grantmaking to local NGOs and technical partners, and implemented USAID, European Union, World Bank, and foundation funded projects in politically challenging contexts.