An investment-led approach to empowering artisanal mining communities

We are all inextricably linked to artisanal mining. Over 40 million people work in artisanal mines worldwide. As many as 150 million people are financially dependent on this sector. Our electronic, medical technology, jewellery and investment industries bank on it. Our own lives are more comfortable and more connected because of it.

Yet, those whose livelihoods depend on artisanal mining, the miners and their families, are trapped in a cycle of poverty.

The potential for change is huge.

Eighty countries have a significant artisanal mining sector with 50% of the world’s poorest countries economically dependent on it. Globally, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is big business.

And the opportunity to make an impact is just as enormous.

There’s widespread consumer demand for change, too. Brands and manufacturers are under pressure to help secure a clean, green and safe supply of gold, gemstones, and precious and industrial metals. Development agencies are expected to participate. A do-not-engage policy is no longer an acceptable option. And most importantly, ASM mining operators are eager to engage in business partnerships helping them to run their businesses more profitably.

There are many, many reasons why we engage with the ASM sector, not least of which is that we believe that change is possible.

A systemic approach to effecting change

To make a difference, we tackle the inequities in artisanal mining systemically, getting to the root of the problem with a core mission to bring about change from within. Our approach focuses on three components.

Building strong companies

We strengthen small- and medium-sized mining enterprises through training and access to technical assistance.

Incentivising continuous improvement

We drive improvements in environmental performance, social management and good governance by linking them to access to equipment, capital and markets.

Making impact at scale

Our hub and spoke approach maximises resource spend to scale the transformation of communities and mining landscapes.

Practical solutions to inherent challenges

We provide mining communities with the practical, meaningful and appropriate support they need to improve productivity, profitability and quality of life. These solutions also aim to restore environmental damage caused by unregulated and irresponsible mining activity and promote economic diversification. 

pickaxe icon impact facility

Access to Finance and equipment

By offering impact finance and grants.

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Access to capacity development

Through project development and implementing partners.

Access to ethical markets

By connecting small-scale producers with downstream brands.

“The Impact Facility is an innovative mechanism for enabling hard-to-reach mine sites to benefit from access to technical support, finance and markets. These forms of support act as accelerators to improve the performance of mine sites towards recognised standards of performance, including Fairtrade certification.”

- David Finlay, responsible minerals manager, Fairtrade Foundation