Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) involves
up to 30 million people worldwide contributing 15-20% of global mineral and metal production. This form of mining is generally defined as a community activity with little capital input or formal recognition, focusing on marginal or small deposits. The number of people involved in ASM has increased substantially over the last ten years as world mineral prices have shot-up. Despite its scale this form of mining is often viewed negatively by governments and international agencies due to the potential for adverse environmental and health impacts. However artisanal and small-scale mining does provide poor people direct access to the mineral wealth of their land, providing diversified livelihoods and positively developing community resilience. Supporting pathways to minimise the harm and maximise the benefits from this type of mining is the focus of a 3 year Charles Darwin University (CDU) project supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funding through their Government Partnerships for Development program. This project is working in two districts in eastern Indonesia, Southeast Sulawesi which is a centre for small-scale gold mining and West Timor where thousands of farmers are also part-time manganese miners.
The project aims to build local capacity in eastern Indonesia to monitor the environmental and social impacts of ASM and develop improved governance to minimise the deleterious impacts of ASM.
Project Web site: asm4d.wordpress.com