Guest blog by
20 April 2015
As IIED prepares to hold a "visioning workshop" on artisanal and small-scale mining, Matthew McKernan highlights five useful resources available to artisanal miners, mining companies and government.

A small-scale mine in Mawemeru village, Geita district, Tanzania (Photo: copyright Brian Sokol/Panos Pictures)

Not enough is known or understood about artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), but there are some useful resources available.

As IIED prepares to launch its Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Series on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining with a two-day visioning workshop bringing together influential stakeholders, we have pulled together a list of useful resources on ASM.

The workshop has been planned to help shape the challenges and processes that will be addressed through in-country multi-stakeholder dialogues. Contributions will be published later this year.

1. Rock solid chances for responsible artisanal mining (PDF)

Rock solid chances for responsible artisanal mining,  the Alliance for Responsible Mining This report, produced by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), explores the challenges and opportunities presented by ASM, including the potential for certification and traceability schemes in the global gold supply chain.

These provide strong entry points for sustainable solutions within ASM. ARM's Fairmined and the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations' (FLO) Fairtrade standard are explored as tools for an ethical jewellery supply chain.

2. Working together: how large-scale mining can engage with artisanal and small-scale miners (PDF)

Working together: how large-scale mining can engage with artisanal and small-scale miners, by the the International Council on Mining and MetalsThis report and workshop summary from the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) includes monitoring and diagnostic tools, guiding principles and highlights the business case for engagement and collaboration between the large-scale mining sector (LSM) and artisanal and small-scale miners.

IIED's first multi-stakeholder dialogue on ASM, LSM and government relations hinges on collaboration.
3. The golden vein: a guide to responsible artisanal and small-scale mining (PDF)

The golden vein: a guide to responsible artisanal and small-scale mining, but the Alliance for Responsible MiningThis guide to ASM from the Alliance for Responsible Mining focuses on the development of markets and rights for ASM, and includes a concise summary of what ASM is, the challenges it faces and the opportunities for its responsible development.

It provides a particularly useful self-assessment guide for both ASM miners and ASM organisations in identifying their strengths, weaknesses and pathways to improved and responsible practice and performance.
4. Gold supplement to the OECD due diligence guidance (PDF)

Gold supplement to the OECD due diligence guidanceThis supplement complements the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) due diligence guidance for minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, and focuses specifically on the gold produced, exported and refined from high-risk areas.

It includes risk assessments for both downstream and upstream activities in the gold supply chain, and provides useful guidance and recommendations for companies so that they can avoid inadvertently contributing to abuses of ASM.
5. Community engagement toolkit (PDF)

Community engagement toolkit, by the International Council on Mining and MetalsThis toolkit, compiled by the International Council on Mining and Metals, does not focus specifically on ASM, but provides practical guidance reflecting the social, economic and institutional development of communities throughout the mineral lifecycle.

Because ASM is fundamentally a development challenge, the toolkit is a useful complement to more ASM-specific guidance for large-scale and junior operators.  

Coming soon:

The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) is producing practical guidance for governments on managing ASM, due to be released at the 9th OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains meeting in Paris in May. The IGF's guidance will be another important step forward in achieving practical and collaborative solutions to ASM.

What resources do you recommend?

Please let us know if you know of any useful resources on ASM. Leave your suggestions in the comments box below.

Matthew McKernan ( is a research consultant on IIED's ASM programme.