On the week of 13 May, ICoCA attended the Voluntary Principles Initiative Annual Plenary in Washington DC. ICoCA’s Executive Director, Jamie Williamson, presented on a panel addressing “Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM): Emerging Lessons and Learnings”.

Key takeaways include:

  1. ASM is here to stay, already representing a significant percentage of mineral extraction across all valuable minerals, with growth forecasted.
  2. Community engagement is critical. ICoCA’s case study on AngloGold Ashanti Geita Gold Mine illustrates how integrating the community into the security framework, alongside responsible security providers, benefits both mines and communities.
  3. Formalisation and professionalisation of the ASM sector, particularly around large-scale mining sites and access to markets for products, will improve relations between ASM and Large-Scale Mining (LSM).
  4. The elephant in the room, however, is the increasing presence of criminal networks that are driving and arming illegal ASM, pushing communities into conflict with companies – a worrying trend with no simple solutions and grave complexity.

This discussion was just one of the important topics during a thought-provoking week of multi-stakeholder dialogue. ICoCA is proud to be an Observer of the initiative and continues to encourage all corporate members to contract ICoCA-certified companies to be provided the assurance of rigorous and ongoing human rights due diligence.