Capacity building for self-regulation of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sector: A policy paradigm shift aligned with development outcomes and a pro-poor approach

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Extractive Industries and Society, Volume 3, Number 3, p.653–658 (2016)



Africa, Artisanal, ASM, development, Self-regulation


Despite its importance for sustainable development, strategies for regulating artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Africa are often maladapted to local contexts. In this article, we describe ASM’s dimensions in Africa and current regulatory frameworks, most of which are based on a “scaling-down” of large-scale mining regulations. We then argue that ASM policy should be reformed in two ways. First, it should become outcomes based, seeking to achieve such goals as the protection of natural resources, good health and safety standards, skills development, and access to legitimate channels for the processing and/or sale of minerals. In order to achieve particular outcomes, ASM policy will need to begin to regulate spaces rather than individual miners. Second, we argue that more inclusive approaches to policymaking are required: they must incorporate local miners’ associations and cooperatives and build their capacity in order to make ASM regulation effective.

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