Opinion: South Africa must regulate artisanal mining carefully

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Opinion: South Africa must regulate artisanal mining carefully
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Maxime Ouellet, ing.

Opinion: South Africa must regulate artisanal mining carefully

Credit: Mujahid Safodien/Contributor/AFP via Getty Images The small-scale and artisanal mining industry (ASM) employs up to 80 million people worldwide, and the sector has been part of the South African mining landscape for many years. It takes place across the country’s primary mineral commodities, including gold, coal, chrome, and diamonds. In South Africa, as many as 30,000 men, women, and children – known as Zama Zamas – work in the industry. Often they work in and around an estimated 6,000 disused and ownerless mines across the country. However, many also work in active commercial mines. An estimated 10% of the country’s gold production comes from ASM, for example. Analysts say that more than R70bn ($4.3bn) a year of national revenue is being lost due to illegal mining in the country’s gold sector alone. Many artisanal miners are subsistence workers and a large number are illegal migrants from other African […]

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