Public Officials ECOWAS
A top official of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has asked African governments to support artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) to ensure sustainable livelihoods.
Public Officials ECOWAS

Oliver P. Maponga, Economic Affairs Officer, Minerals and Energy, Southern African Office of the UNECA said here on Tuesday during the last day of a two-day workshop for public officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the African Mining Vision (AMV) and the ECOWAS Mineral Development Policy (EMDP).

Speaking on the topic: ?The AMV/EMDP and ASM: towards a new approach to ASM?, Maponga said the negative impact of an improperly regulated ASM had dire consequences for both the people and the environment and urged governments to support the sector. He said: ?Artisanal and small scale mining is an area that requires support. The role of the state is to support small scale mining to be sustainable. The state should play a major role in assisting the sector.? Some of the consequences he noted include negative environmental impacts such as mercury contamination, deforestation, siltation; unreclaimed mine sites, child labor and gender inequality challenges and non-decent employment including poor working conditions. Others are illicit trade that was linked to conflict, inadequate and inappropriate technology, adverse health and safety impacts, limited capacity to adhere to laws, markets and marketing challenges as well as crime.

The UNECA official observed that ASM continue to contribute significantly to the economies of African countries. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that ASM provides 13 to 20 million jobs across 80 countries in the world. Out of the figure, 50 percent of the miners are women while 10 percent were children. Artisanal and small scale mining provides livelihood support to between 80 to 100 million people. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), according to a 2013 report estimate that 90 percent of employment in the gold sector worldwide was in ASM.

Maponga observed the contribution of ASM to the mineral sector cannot be ignored by governments and society and called for support for the sector. ?Governments should support ASM with legislation, technology, finance and markets and marketing as that is what will bring about sustainable livelihoods on the continent,? he said. Legal small scale mining and illegal small scale locally referred to as ?galamsey? mining is common in Ghana and other African countries. The activities of such miners have contributed to wanton destruction of the environment with its attendant conflict. The regulation of the sector by governments across the sub-region and other parts of the continent, many believe would provide job opportunities to thousands of unemployed youth, protect the environment as well as generation of revenue by the state for developmental projects.

Below are the?workshop presentations

  1. A Country Mining Vision Guidebook
  3. Mining governance climate – nov 2014
  4. TWN_Fisc Present_01
  5. TWN_Fisc Presentation_01

By Francis Tandoh, Nana Appiah Acquaye and Roger ?A. Agana


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