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Annual report suite 2012

Addressing artisanal and small-scale mining

“ASM is a significant issue for the company. We support governments’ efforts to formalise the ASM sector, while recognising our obligation to secure our own assets and guard against illegal ASM activity on our sites”

{Johan Viljoen, Senior Vice President, Policy and Assurance: Sustainability}

Defining ASM

Our management standard on ASM defines this activity as any mining and/or processing activities undertaken by individuals who may have formed a collective or co-operative to undertake these activities. The scale of activity can range from one individual to large collectives of hundreds or even thousands of individuals working an area with the common denominator being a low level of mechanisation. Activity is often well co-ordinated, although it may seem informal, and is sometimes regulated by local legislation, though often the activities are unregulated. Colloquially, ASM is referred to by many different names including galamsey (Ghana), orpailleurs (DRC), garimpeiros (Brazil), Zama Zamas (South Africa) and barequeros (Colombia).


ASM unpacked

AngloGold Ashanti has long recognised that artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) is the lifeblood of many of the communities in which we operate. And yet the relationship between the large scale mining that we practice and ASM practiced in local communities is not always an easy one and can lead to conflict.

See case study: Continental Africa – ASM unpacked


Developing alternative livelihoods at Gramalote in Colombia

In Antioquia, Colombia, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has been ongoing since the late 1800s. Though such mining activities bring a multitude of social and environmental challenges, they are also integral to the local economy and culture, with the required skills often passed down through the generations.

See case study: Americas – Developing alternative livelihoods at Gramalote in Colombia

ASM is a centuries-old activity providing livelihoods to many millions of people, including many women.

ASM activity can be legal or illegal, with country legislation determining this. Legal ASM is regulated in terms of health, social and environmental impacts, and occurs in areas designated by governments, or in some jurisdictions, in any area not covered by the exclusive rights of third parties. Illegal ASM actively occurs when artisanal and small-scale miners operate outside of the provisions of the law, including when they operate on concessions where others have exclusive mineral rights and might involve the theft of property.

AngloGold Ashanti takes seriously our obligations to protect our assets and therefore oppose illegal ASM activity on our sites. As we recognise that so many depend on ASM for their livelihood, we support steps taken to create and build the legal, formal ASM sector. This support includes the promotion of ASM formalisation, support to health and safety regulation, and innovative solutions to land use and economic development.

Addressing ASM is a complex undertaking, and requires different approaches from site to site. Each of our operating sites (mine, projects and exploration) needs to include ASM in its social baseline assessment. In addition, each site is required to formulate a strategy that includes:

  • collaboration with governments and interested and affected parties on the promotion of an unambiguous regulatory environment; and
  • security and legal considerations.

AngloGold Ashanti acknowledges and supports the rights of governments to uphold the requirements of the law and to prosecute where individuals or groups of people trespass on company property, including the act of illegal mining. We also support taking action that is appropriate in terms of the law and in accordance with established international norms of human rights including the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR).

What we said we would do

AngloGold Ashanti seeks to address ASM:

  • at a strategic level, to develop global partnerships with industry role players to identify and develop an ASM framework and set of guidelines;
  • at an in-country level, to collaborate in priority countries addressing country risks and issues, and crafting agreed solutions; and
  • at a site level, to tailor solutions which respond to the on-the-ground situation.

In 2011, we committed to:

  • ensuring compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act and the Responsible Gold standards – see Responsible gold;
  • actively participating and leading global partners in addressing the complexity of ASM;
  • developing an ASM framework and guidance to assist operations in addressing ASM and the issues relating to it at a site level;
  • creating in-country and cross-country collaboration, where applicable, across our operating portfolio; and
  • actively engaging with artisanal and small-scale miners at each of our affected sites to ensure peaceful co-existence with ASM participants and contributing to the long-term development of the regions in which ASM is active.

Our performance in 2012

Seeking global mechanisms

At a global leveI, AngloGold Ashanti continued to seek to develop effective mechanisms for understanding and managing ASM with support from the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the World Gold Council. The partnership with the World Bank and its Communities and Small-scale Mining (CASM) did not progress as the World Bank has suspended its CASM project in its current design. As a result, AngloGold Ashanti has continued with the programme independently to develop a definition, framework and guidance as regards ASM. Although each country and region has different contexts in which ASM takes place, we believe it important to develop a group global framework and guidance to develop local strategies.

Stakeholder mapping

In 2012, we began a stakeholder mapping exercise to identify ASM representatives with whom to engage. A timeline has been developed to create the basis of dialogue as regards the topic of ASM.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships to deliver solutions

A specialist ASM manager has been appointed in the Continental Africa Region to develop site-specific strategies, and progress has been made in Tanzania. A multi-stakeholder partnership meeting was held in Tanzania in November 2012 to plot the process for establishing the mechanisms for ASM in the country. A follow-up meeting was held with the Deputy Minister for Mines to confirm this. A committee comprising membership groups has been established and its terms of reference are being drafted.

In Colombia, good progress has been made with the identification of alternative potential livelihoods for ASM miners.