Artisanal and Small Scale Mining in Namibia - Understanding the Cycle of Poverty
CIM Montreal 2011
Bradley Ross, Sean Dessureault,
Many challenges face the estimated 13 million artisanal and small scale miners (ASM) in resource rich developing countries around the world. These challenges include low incomes, unsafe working conditions, health risks and environmental damage. Although much has been written regarding the circumstances of ASM, sustainable solutions to their problems remain elusive. This paper focuses on artisanal mining in Namibia, where the miners produce semi-precious gemstones and crystals sought by collectors. Although the miners are supported by large mining companies, NGOs and the government in Namibia, they are still caught in a cycle of poverty that starts with low investment, limited production, poor marketing and the need to meet living basic standards. These miners have been supported with training that helps with safety and production as well as improved access to renting mining equipment. However increasing production without a corresponding increase in demand tends to lower the price for the minerals produced which perpetuates the cycle of poverty for a majority of the ASM miners. All four elements of the cycle of poverty must be understood and addressed to break the cycle of poverty of ASM. Of particular importance is expanding the market and understanding the cultural issues of subsistence.
small-scale, cycle of poverty, artisanal mining