Artisanal and small-scale miners gather in Zambia to discuss sustainable development

The 2018 International Conference on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining & Quarrying (ASM18) kicked off in Livingstone, Zambia yesterday with over 500 people from more than 70 countries gathering to chart a vision for sustainable development in the sector.

ASM18 is the largest international gathering of artisanal and small-scale miners and quarry workers ever assembled and is the first international conference on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) for over a decade.

The conference aims to create a global dialogue for the ASM industry, which is an important livelihood activity for millions of people in the developing world representing as many as 90% of the global mining workforce.

However, until now environmental, social, business and labour challenges have hindered the potential of ASM to contribute to sustainable development.

“One of the greatest paradoxes of our time is epitomised in the African, Caribbean and Pacific region where there is suffering amidst plenty,” said Dr. Patrick Ignatius Gomes, secretary-general of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

“This is particularly so in the minerals sector, where nearly two-thirds of the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific States are either mining countries, or have mining potential, which if exploited rationally, could contribute to inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development.”

Speaking at the official opening of ASM18, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungo said the ASM sector has not been fully exploited to across the African Caribbean Pacific region to spur socio-economic development.

The President called for the sector to be formalised with emphasis on increased production, use of safe and efficient mining methods and environmental protection.