Formalising small-scale mining in rural Mozambique: Issues, challenges and ways forward

Over the past two decades, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) – low-tech, labour-intensive mineral extraction and processing – has proliferated rapidly in all corners of sub-Saharan Africa, rapidly becoming the region’s most important rural nonfarm activity.  Today, it provides a direct source of income to at least 15 million Africans. It has created millions more economic opportunities in the downstream and upstream industries it has spawned and accounts for a sizable share of the region’s mineral production, including 18 percent of its gold, 20 percent of its diamonds and nearly all of its coloured gemstones.

These economic contributions have not been lost on host governments and donors. Most now concede that, across sub-Saharan Africa, the sector is largely poverty-driven, providing incomes to otherwise-jobless individuals. However, at the same time, these parties have struggled mightily to build a credible case for supporting ASM and justifying its inclusion in the region’s rural development strategy.

This research aims to build a case and identify the ingredients of a sustainable strategy for formalizing and supporting ASM in Mozambique. Mozambique boasts one of the largest and most dynamic ASM economies in sub-Saharan Africa, an analysis of which could provide valuable lessons to other countries in the region committed to formalising the sector.  The specific objectives of this research are as follows:

  1. To develop a stakeholder map for ASM in Mozambique;
  2. To gain a wider appreciation of the drivers and local-level impacts of informal ASM;
  3. To identify the barriers to formalisation in Mozambique;
  4. To map out the systems of support in place for ASM in Mozambique.

The overarching aim of this research is to build a case and identify the ingredients of a sustainable strategy for formalizing and supporting ASM in Mozambique that is replicable elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Outputs

  • Publication - Project Report

    Formalising artisanal and small-scale mining in Mozambique: Concerns, priorities, and challenges

    This paper reflects critically on efforts to formalise artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) – low-tech, labour-intensive mineral extraction and processing – in Mozambique. Drawing on findings from interviews with policymakers, representatives from ASM associations and consultations with 200 individual miners, the paper captures the details of the country’s ASM...

    23 Jun 2021 | Gavin Hilson, Salvador Mondlane, Abigail Hilson, Alex Arnall, Tim Laing