In a joint letter, 73 organisations are calling on governments and mining industry actors to increase efforts towards the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations across the globe. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter says, the already vulnerable artisanal miners, often women, and the communities they support, are becoming even more vulnerable. The report refers to "high value commodities such as tin, tungsten, tantalum, cobalt, mica and particularly gold."
While in some countries, as ASM operations are forced to close because of government restrictions, revenue is drying up, and food prices are rising, the statement reads, creating a devastating impact on the livelihoods of millions of people. At the same time, formal sales channels have collapsed leaving the ASM segment particularly vulnerable for illicit actors who are forcing them to sell at undervalued prices. The signatories call on governments, financial institutions and private sector to work together to safeguard the progress made in the (informal) mining industry, ensure proper and transparent communication and proper health care enabling communities to operate, continue engagement towards formalization of ASM and access to legitimate markets, and focus on continuing to build supply chain due diligence from mine to market.