Mineral exhaustion and its livelihood implications for artisanal and small-scale miners

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  • Anna Frohn Pedersen
  • Jonas Østergaard Nielsen
  • Friis, Cecilie
  • Jesper Bosse Jonsson

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a vital livelihood practice around the world, especially in the Global South. In Tanzania, millions of people depend on artisanal and small-scale gold mining and many of these people are in Geita, the main gold mining region of Tanzania. Based on qualitative research conducted in this region, this paper engages the artisanal and small-scale miners? experiences of gold mining. It highlights how extracting gold is experienced as increasingly difficult and how miners worry that gold reserves will be exhausted in the near future. Academic attention and policy making have focused on formalization and sustainable management of ASM, addressing current practices and their social and environmental impacts. However, a knowledge gap remains in the understanding of livelihood implications that emerge when mineral sources are nearing exhaustion and they become harder to extract. In Geita, this has led miners to diversify their investments and consider alternative livelihood strategies. With a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this paper calls for a broader sustainability discussion on ASM, as well as a better integration of ASM into the SDG agenda. This integration should consider exit strategies for miners as their livelihoods depend upon non-renewable resources.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Artisanal and small-scale mining, Livelihood diversification, Mineral decline, Sustainable development goals, Tanzania, SDGS

ID: 261221903