The information below provides disclosure under the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indicator MM8: Number (and percentage) of company operating sites where artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) takes place on, or adjacent to, the site; the associated risks and the actions taken to manage and mitigate these risks.
Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a key risk at all operations in the Continental Africa region (CAR) except those in Namibia and Mali. ASM poses a threat to safety and prevents operations from running smoothly. The formulation and roll out of a regional ASM strategy is part of the CAR sustainability work planned for 2012. Several CAR operations have issues linked to ASM, as described below:
- At Geita in Tanzania, ASM activity takes place close to active mine pits. Key risks associated with ASM include safety concerns for the small-scale miners themselves and the threat they pose to Geita employees (refer to security incidents discussed in the section on Security).
- There is also ASM activity at Siguiri in Guinea where invasions into pits at the mine have occurred.
- In the DRC, there were 20 ASM sites in the exclusion zone at the beginning of 2011 (the exclusion zone is an area delineated around the project site for the purposes of safety). An artisanal mining steering committee was established to facilitate communication with artisanal miners and by the end of 2011, ASM activity within the exclusion zone had been ceased. Work is ongoing to prevent the return of these miners to these sites.
At Obuasi in Ghana, ASM activities that occur on the mine concession are considered to be illegal. The closest location adjacent to the concession where legalised ASM activities occur is in Dunkwa-on-Offin, which is 40 km south of Obuasi. Another active ASM site is in Tarkwa, which is about 145 km to the southwest of Obuasi. The Obuasi Artisanal Small-Scale Miners‘ Association is recognised by the Municipal Assembly as a registered entity and has been recognised in the mine engagement plan. The key issue discussed with the Association is their request for the release of land by AngloGold Ashanti for small-scale mining operations.
Illegal miners at the operation have however disregarded warnings to stop mining at Coral Snake and Cote D’or, where their activities impact our underground operations. Many of these illegal miners are armed and pose a risk to our employees. The municipal assembly and the security agencies have been involved in addressing the problems that arise as a result. There are 11 active operating sites where illegal ASM takes place on the mine site.
In the Americas, the Gramalote Project in Colombia takes place in an area with a tradition of artisanal mining. There are approximately 130 artisanal miners adjacent to our operations in the regions. Negotiations are underway to ensure peaceful co-existence with them. In Serra Grande in Brazil, there is artisanal mining close to the operations but these activities do not interfere with the company’s operations.