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Beyond Illegality: Concepts and Approaches Towards Improved Governance of Informal Mining

Paulo De Sa, Rachel Perks, Daniele La Porta, International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment (2013)

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in mineral development policy agendas has undergone several articulations over the last forty years. These articulations have generally corresponded to specific political and economic global periods, engendering resonating effects on the articulation of mineral development strategies for many developing countries.

Pelon and Martel-Jantin (2007) propose that since the post-colonial period, the position of ASM within mineral policy has transitioned from one of isolation to that of integration. Such a transition was evidenced firstly by a firmer inclusion of ASM in national mineral legislation and policy starting in the late 1980s and into the mid- 1990s. This legislative reform focus was accompanied in several circumstances with technical assistance, such as small grant programs or credit and loan schemes, to establish more viable small-scale mining operations. Furthermore, specific ASM government departments or agencies typically under the umbrella of the Ministry concerned with mining were established or further support to provide advisory and technical services to artisanal and small-scale operators.


The ASM agenda shifted in the late 1990s and early 2000s to one of development (Pelon and Martel-Jantin, 2007). This shift had the effect of integrating ASM into the global fight against poverty within the