Talk / Overview
Artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) is a subject of growing importance, especially in the developing world and the African continent. There are an estimated 10 million people working in the sector in sub-saharan countries alone, with numbers growing due to commodity price rises and climate change.
The informality and the mining practices do not only cause severe damage to ecosystems and food chain poisoning, but also can lead to social conflicts. These can arise for example between indigenous people and non-local miners or governments and rebel groups financed by ASM. Moreover, ASM sites are known to host child labor, exploitation of workers and human trafficking.