World Gold Council calls for greater cooperation between formal and artisanal sectors

The World Gold Council (WGC) has called for greater cooperation between large mining companies and artisanal miners and set out recommendations to help bring small-scale miners into the formal industry.

The WGC, which counts 31 major international gold miners as members, published a report yesterday which included 36 case studies on the experiences of companies with artisanal miners working close to their operations, including Calibre Mining, Newmont and B2Gold.

Globally, up to 40.5 million people are estimated to have engaged in artisanal mining in 2017, according to the The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). Other estimates suggest that up to 20% of newly mined annual gold supply comes from artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM).

Mainstream miners have typically avoided dealing with artisanal miners, who use basic equipment, often work outside legal frameworks and can employ children and use toxic materials such as mercury.

However, the latest WGC report aims to promote the formalisation of responsible ASGM entities and to address the negative safety, social and environmental aspects of artisanal mining, while encouraging large scale miners to communicate their experiences and challenges with regards to the informal sector.

“This report outlines the commitment and support the large scale gold mining industry is offering to responsible ASGM and the many benefits that can be secured when the two sectors work together constructively, albeit recognising that there are many challenges,” said WGC’s CFO Terry Heymann.