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Artisanal Gold Mining In West Africa


Province Loba 50 meters underground Since 2001, artisanal gold mining communities have sprung up around West Africa, In many respect it resembles the gold rush of the nineteenth century.

These cities were mere fields before they came artisanal miners. His arrival created wealth and a flourishing secondary economy that drove the development of regulations, systems of land tenure, infrastructure and economic diversification.

It is fascinating to see that almost the same phenomena that occurred in the gold rush are happening again today.



Although artisanal gold mining has been active since antiquity, the sector in West Africa has grown dramatically since 2001, driven by rising gold price and the lack of alternative opportunities.

Many farmers and herdsmen have entered the sector of artisanal gold mining and now they use their profits to improve their farming activities.

In artisanal gold mining, see a direct transfer of wealth which it is unique to other products sold on the international market.


For most agricultural products, for example, those who buy in the grocery store, only a small fraction of that profit back to the small original producer, often less than 20%.

Even for social brand products, the percentage is only moderately higher. For example, the banana cooperatives receive about a dollar for 18 kilos of bananas, less than 20%. On the other hand, artisanal miners earn a minimum of 70% to 80% of the international price.

This is unheard of in other goods. Artisanal gold mining is a massive wealth from rich to poor, but also has an amplification effect.

The local secondary economy is typically five or six times larger than the primary economy, the value of gold.

Miners use their profits to pay for hardware products, mining supplies, food, clothing, transportation, communications, medicine, all things that sell local businesses and people of that service sector, in turn do the same.

Thus they are circulating gold profits, building a large and diverse local economy. Motorcycle dealers, home improvement, telecommunications, health services, infrastructure and schools often appear in cities in connection artisanal gold mines.

Mercury is one of the great problems of artisanal gold mining. Mercury is cheap and therefore affordable means for processing the gold, but it is also a deadly neurotoxin that can cause permanent damage to the nervous system, and even death.

It is also a poor extraction method, which normally gets about 40% of the gold that is in the mineral, therefore wasting resource.

Artisanal Gold Mining In West Africa



Although problems like mercury poisoning, exposure to silica dust, child labor and other criminal activity may be present in artisanal mining sites around West Africa, governments often overlook the positive benefits.






Governments and the media have a history of condemnation and demonization of artisanal gold mining without really properly understand the sector without offering solutions.

However, artisanal gold mining is now universally recognized by international agencies like the UN as a development opportunity and a huge source of rural employment and wealth generation.

The modern sector of artisanal gold mining has been strong for some 40 years and because of the jobs it provides poor rural areas, it is clear that it will continue.

In fact, it is probably stronger than the industrial sector of gold mining, which it is much more susceptible to fluctuations in gold prices.

In this context, the government and industry should help artisanal gold mining to improve their environmental and social performance to allow maximize its role of reducing poverty.

Need help and support to enter the formal economy, where you can become a responsible sector and help finance a diverse and sustainable rural economy.

And this is where comes the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC). The Artisanal Gold Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving opportunities, the environment and health of the millions of people involved in artisanal mining and small-scale gold in the developing world, and in doing so, we are helping to improve the integrity of the entire gold sector, from small to large.

Artisanal Gold Council (AGC)
In West Africa








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