THE ARTISANAL MINERS THE MINING CO-OPERATIVES WOMEN MINING CO-OPERATIVES THE JUNIOR MINING COMPANIES
TYPICALLY NOT FORMALISED/ NOT ORGANISED / NO BUSINESS STRUCTURE. SAVINGS CULTURE NOT VERY COMMON- LIVING TESTIMONY OF BIBLICAL MATTHEW 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION.
NOT MUCH ATTENTION PAID TO PERSONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ISSUES. MODEL THRIVES MOSTLY ON BLACK MARKET TRADING. LOCALLY, NORMALLY REFERRED TO AS “AMAKOROKOZA- THE HUSTLERS.” Good News! Slowly effort is now being made by GOVERNMENTS and stake holders in the MINING SECTOR to get this group of miners recognized, organized and formalized.
The International Cooperative Alliance defines a cooperative as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.” Cooperative values are “self-help, self- responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity,” as well as “honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”
Harms (2008) explains that as cooperatives are “participative self-help organizations … members are also co-owners and have both the rights and obligations of participating in goal-setting, decision-making and control or evaluation processes of their cooperative.” Members must act as “both users and owners in the development of cooperative organizations.” Participation is required at three levels: firstly, in the provision of resources (inputs such as capital, labour, produce), in decision-making, and in receiving benefits.
CONSOLIDATES INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS OF GROUPS SUCH AS THE ARTISANAL MINERS. WOMEN MINING CO-OPERATIVES. NORMALLY ATTRACTS MEMBERS FROM THE COMMUNITIES SURROUNDING THE PROJECT. MEMBERS USUALLY CONTRIBUTE CAPITAL IN EQUAL PARTS AND ARE EQUALLY LIABLE FOR ANY LIABILITIES ARISING. USUALLY SEMI-MECHANISED AND NOT VERY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICALLY IN THEIR OPERATIONS.
MOST PREVALENT IN GOLD AND BASE METAL AND GEMSTONE MINING. MORE FORMALIZED & BETTER ORGANISED. MORE ADHERENCE TO SAFEFY, HEALTH & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. MORE INTERACTION WITH THE RELEVANT DEPARTMENTS OF GOVRNMENT:- OFFICE OF THE MINING COMMISSIONER, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH & SAFETY DEPTS.
SIMILAR TO THE MINING CO-OPERATIVES DESCRIBED ABOVE SAVE FOR THE BIAS TOWARDS WOMEN EMPOWERMENT. SERVES AS AN EMPOWERMENT TOOL SINCE WOMEN WERE PREVIOUSLY MAGINALIZED IN MINING SINCE THE SECTOR WAS REGARDED AS A MALE DOMAIN. ON –GOING MECHANIZATION EFFORTS HAS HELPED INCREASE WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN MINING CO- OPERATIVES.
CONTIRBUTES TOWARDS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SINCE IT IS SAID “A DOLLAR IN THE HANDS OF A WOMAN GOES MUCH FURTHER IN FAMILY AND COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT COMPARED TO WHAT THE SAME WOULD ACHIEVE IN THE HANDS OF A MAN.” -disclaimer:- women are not of a homogeneous species hence the above quality will not ALWAYS prove true! WOMEN MINING CO-OPERATIVES ARE MOSTLY VIBRANT IN THE MINING OF:- GOLD, INDUSTRIAL MINERALS & GEM STONES.
WOMEN MINING CO-OPERATIVES TAKE SERIOUSLY TO LEGISLATIVE ISSUES AROUND:- MINE INSPECTIONS, HEALTH, SAFETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT. WOMEN CO-OPERATIVES THRIVE ON :- FOCUSED MEMBERSHIP, UNITY OF PURPOSE, COMMON GOALS AND COMMITMENT TO HARD WORK.
The mining groups described above are normally referred to as Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM.) The table below and the given country examples attempt to demonstrate the impact the ASMs have on their country’s economies.
Country No. ASM Operators Estimated Dependants Angola 150,000 900,000 Burkina Faso 200,000 1,000,000 Central African Republic 400,000 2,400,000 Chad 100,000 600,000 Côte d’Ivoire 100,000 600,000 Democratic Republic of the Congo 200,000 1,200,000 Eritrea 400,000 2,400,000 Ethiopia 500,000 3,000,000 Ghana 1,100,000 4,400,000 Guinea 300,000 1,500,000 Liberia 100,000 600,000 Madagascar 500,000 2,500,000 Mali 400,000 2,400,000 Mozambique 100,000 1,200,000 Niger 450,000 2,700,000 Nigeria 500,000 2,500,000 Sierra Leone 300,000 1,800,000 Sudan 200,000 1,200,000 Tanzania 1,500,000 9,000,000 Uganda 150,000 900,000 Zimbabwe 500,000 3,000,000 Sources: Estimates based on CASM, ASM statistics for Africa.
Clearly, ASM has the potential to be an engine for development. A number of critical factors determine whether this potential can be realized, among them the need to formalize ASM; redress the poor culture of savings and skills to professionalize operations; increase access to suitable micro- financing and appropriate, intermediate technologies; and ensure that any efforts to tackle these issues equitably benefit women and men.
A junior mining company usually has no mining operations and is essentially a venture capital company. It must rely almost entirely on the capital markets to finance its exploration activities [I say "almost entirely" because some juniors derive their financing from private sources, who are usually prepared to offer risk capital]. These junior miners then normally graduate to the next category up: mid- tier producers. These are generally junior companies that have decided to go into production on properties that they have discovered.
It is anticipated that junior exploration companies will be the major source of future mine supply. They find promising properties, prove the resource- the raw material and bring mines into production. With highly trained geologists, geophysicists and engineers on staff, it is the junior mining company that typically is best positioned to determine whether a property is economically viable. Juniors are critical players in the early stages, bridging the long lag time between when a new deposit is found and when it is brought into production.
ASMs MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE COUNTRY’S GDP.
COMMUNITIES ARE EMPOWERED AROUND ASM PROJECTS. HOWEVER ASMs CAN BE A THREAT TO FOOD SECURITY (AT FAMILY AND COMMUNITY LEVEL )AS AGRICUTURAL ACTIVITY IS OFTEN ABANDONED IN FAVOUR OF MINING WHICH HAS FASTER RETURNS. MERCURY POLLUTION FROM GOLD PROCESSING STILL REMAINS A MAJOR THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH ITS ENTRY INTO THE WATER SOURCES AND THE ATMOSPHERE.
LAND DEGRADATION REMAINS WORRYSOME AS UGLY SCARS ARE LEFT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH WITH WATER WAYS FACING IMMINENT SILTATION. GOVERNMENT THEREFORE NEED TO TAKE URGENT STEPS TO FORMALIZE THE ASM IN ORDER TO OPEN DEFINED COMMUNICATION CHANNELS SO AS TO CURB SOME OF THE SHORT-COMINGS OF THE ASM. ON THE OTHER HAND THE JUNIOR MINING COMPANIES WILL PLAY THE BRIDGING ROLE BETWEEN ASM AND THE BIG MINING COMPANIES.