Our Initiative - Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM)
Today's mining industry is under increasing pressure to show greater social and environmental responsibility due to growing demand from consumers for evidence that the products they purchase are ethically sourced, that mining contributes to local sustainable development and poverty reduction, and that the basic human rights of workers and communities are respected.
The global jewellery industry has similarly become the focus of consumer concern. Critics point to the industry's general lack of transparency and accountability and specific concerns relating to the social and environmental impact of the extraction of precious metals, diamonds, gemstones and semi-precious stones, and the working conditions in the manufacturing supply chain.
The push for greater social and environmental responsibility by concious consumers and NGO´s has focused primarily on initiatives led by the industrial-scale mining and jewellery industries. While these steps towards improving the performance and transparency of the major players in the mining and jewellery industries are critical, they nevertheless exclude millions of artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) in the small-scale mining economy.
ARM is convinced that incentives for artisanal and small-scale miners such as access to fair trade and ethical markets through certification of mines and product, offer promising alternatives for ensuring greater access to rights by ASM, which will lead to better quality of life in their communities, safer and fairer working conditions, and significant reductions in the typical environmental impacts of ASM.
Improving the social and environmental performance of ASM would have a positive impact on the lives of many of the poorest families in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, whereas ignoring it will only serve to postpone the problem and aggravate poverty, illness, inequity and environmental degradation in many regions of the world.