"Responsible Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining" forum organised successfully
The Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry of Mongolia and the Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have successfully organised the forum on Responsible Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining. The forum highlighted the key achievements of the Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) project and provided a discussion platform for key stakeholders on the recent ASM policy developments and its implications.
More than 250 participants attended the forum including the representatives from the governmental organisations such as MMHI, MET, MLSP, NHRC, MRPAM, Bank of Mongolia and NSO, local authorities of aimags and soums, the international organisations, the private entities, the training institutes, the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining National Federation of Mongolia, the artisanal and small-scale miners across Mongolia, the delegates from the diplomatic organisations in Mongolia and the ambassadors.
Mr. Bernardino Regazzoni, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Mongolia, noted “Thanks to this project, artisanal miners, once held in the margin of society, transformed into responsible artisanal miners. Today, they are socially accepted and recognized for their contribution to the development of local communities, and to the economic prosperity of localities. This journey was not easy, but we are proud to witness so many positive changes at this event today”.
SDC has been a lead donor in formalization process of the artisanal mining sector (ASM), which is an important livelihood source for some 30 ‘000 rural unemployed in Mongolia. The SAM project has supported the formal recognition of artisanal mining in Mongolia through creating the necessary legal and policy environment in all levels. Formalization of artisanal mining is integrated into the Mongolia’s State Policy Framework of Minerals Sector (2015) the Law on Mining (2014), Government Action Plan 2016 – 2020, the ASM regulation 151 (2017) and Gold II Program of the Government of Mongolia (2017). Today some 10,000 (30% female) miners are formalized; legally access 2’685 hectares of mine land, pay taxes, benefit from social protection schemes, can access microfinance and benefit from trainings and security/control measures. The SAM project successfully introduced the mercury-free processing technology and this technology is now replicated to 5 locations across Mongolia. ASM miners were further capacitated to use Frugal Rehabilitation Method to restore more than 560 ha degraded land. In order to support ASM stakeholders to share their experiences, the Mongolian knowledge hub was established at the MMHI. Mongolian artisanal miners can lead a life in dignity, use environmental-friendly mercury-free techniques for extraction and some mines are fair-mine certified which improves also gold traceability.
Many Mongolian counterparts including the current and past Members of the Parliaments and the Government of Mongolia, government and non-governmental organisations and the artisanal and small-scale miners credit the best practices and achievements of artisanal mining to the technical and development supports by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the implementation of the Sustainable Artisanal Mining project over the previous years. Mrs. Freiburghaus concluded, “With this forum, we remain assured that the national stakeholders, government and ASM community, will sustain the SAM results by policies, systems and people for the future”.