Study on ASGM Sector and responsible supply chains

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), 2023 - 2024

The artisanal gold mining (ASGM) sector is an important part of the Burundian economy and sustains a significant proportion of the country's artisanal miners. ASGM thus provides a significant source of income for rural communities and can be a tool in the fight against poverty. However, gold mining has negative impacts on the environment, human and animal health as well as natural resources and it also has social consequences. Transparency remains a big challenge in the sector and fiscal revenues from mining are extremely low. Moreover, mineral resources in general, and gold in particular, are one of the root causes of conflict in the region, if not the primary one. Engaging with the mineral exploitation and trade sectors, ideally from a regional perspective, is therefore essential to any peace-building effort.

The objective of this study is to identify entry points for the SDC to support the artisanal gold mining sector (and possibly other minerals as well) in the African Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi, as part of their efforts to contribute to peacebuilding in the region. To this end, Projekt-Consult will carry out a baseline assessment of the ASGM sector in Burundi, in order to analyse the possibilities for supporting the formalisation and responsible artisanal production of gold.

The study includes an examination of the policy and legal framework relating to ASM, comparing them with international best practice standards and legislation in neighbouring countries. It analyses the current organisational and production conditions in artisanal and small-scale gold mining and processing, the local and regional market and trade chains, traceability options, as well as the conditions for importing technology for ASM. At the same time, the study analyses the power relationships and risks associated with involvement in this sector. The baseline assessment in the mines will, in parallel, be used to raise awareness and provide information on ASM best practice.

The findings of the study will be used to provide recommendations for the conceptualisation of a broader project to support the formalisation of ASM for gold (and possibly other minerals), responsible mining and processing practices and transparent marketing in Burundi and regionally.


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