Artisanal and Small-Scale mining activities range from rudimentary subsistence operations to more complex underground works with fixed installations and small processing plants. Worldwide, it is estimated that 13 - 20 million people are directly engaged in artisanal operations in over 50 counties (World Bank, EITI).
The importance and impact of the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Sector cannot be underestimated for its role in poverty alleviation. The sector is so important that in some countries Small-scale mining can account for the majority of production.
For Governments, achieving regulatory oversight of the large number of small operations in this largely informal sector presents major challenges.
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SMALL-SCALE MINING SECTOR MANAGEMENT USING FLEXICADASTRE
Issues confronting Governments in dealing with the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Sector include:
- Lack of data, at both regional and national levels, that is necessary to establish fair governance in the sector.
- Lack of integration into the greater mining community and mainstream as well as local economy.
- Low economic contribution of the sector to Government.
- Lack of appropriate extraction methods and technologies, Health and Safety standards, environmental protection and follow up environmental rehabilitation initiatives.
- Instability, illegal practices and conflict.
- Small-scale miners to benefit from easier tenure applications, quicker assessments and lower costs.
- Integrated solutions to the problems faced by the sector and improved cooperation between the various institutions in an effort to promote cooperative governance.
- Small-scale licenses included into an integrated Mining Cadastre System.
- A coordinated approach towards the Small-scale Mining Sector and its mainstreaming into the country's economy.
- Protection of surrounding communities from illegal mining activities by ensuring property and mining rights and a reduction in conflicts with land owners.
- Formalization of Small-scale operations together with improved mining skills, technology and practices.
- Governments are encouraged to either pass new Small-scale mining legislation where it doesn't already exist, or update existing mining legislation so as to include provisions that apply to Small-scale miners.
- A complete re-survey programme mapping all Small-scale licenses/ activities.
- Inclusion of Small-scale license data into an integrated Mining Cadastre System.
Using FlexiCadastre to manage the Small-scale Mining Sector can bring security of tenure and improved economic viability to these operations, as well as a significant contribution by the Small-scale Sector to the country's economy. Importantly, this provides a stable base for poverty alleviation by creating economic opportunities for all, through small business development and job creation.