Artisanal and small-scale gold mining in West Africa, are the two fastest and cheapest methods of gold mining. Artisanal mining is a poorly organized sector, and many rural youth are engaged in artisanal gold mining to feed their families. Artisanal gold miners are exposed to many deadly risks. They defy death every day in the gold mines in search of gold. Some gold miners can easily make millions within days of hard work in an artisanal mine and others can work months without gold to sell.

There are two types of artisanal gold miners

The born gold miners

The born gold miners are the gold miners whose parents are all gold miners and whose main activity is gold washing. These kinds of gold miners do not know anything else if it is not gold washing and it would be very difficult to them to do other work.

The artisanal miners by contraninte

The artisanal gold miners are people who have become gold miners and do not have gold washing as their main activity. These kinds of gold miners are generally workers, unemployed graduates who do not get work in the city or funding for their projects, they practice gold washing because of lack of work.

Today, more than 1 million people exercise this activity in Mali, like many other countries in West Africa. Many young Africans prefer to take the risk in the mines as a souvenir for their families. Gold mining can earn them millions in no time if they are lucky enough to stumble upon the places where there is a lot of gold. Artisanal gold miners can go for months risking their lives in the holes without finding gold.

Artisanal gold mining is very risky due to several factors like poor organization & lack of funding. Artisanal gold mining is a sector that many investors overlook. Artisanal gold mining is a poorly supervised sector in “West Africa”. Despite the negative factors of artisanal mining, artisanal gold production could represent the equivalent of 40 to 50% of industrial production in West Africa. Of the gold found on the African market, 95 to 98% is gold produced by artisanal miners and 70 to 80% of African gold on the international market.

Small-scale gold mining requires more funding than artisanal mining.

Is it possible to properly supervise artisanal gold mining in Africa?

Yes, it is possible, the main objective of the Cooperative of Gold Miners “SCOOPS ANAGO” is to properly supervise the artisanal miners in order to minimize the fatal risks on the gold washing sites. For this reason, the president of the Gold Miners Cooperative decides to work only with partners who can invest to properly supervise these gold miners.

What are the challenges of artisanal mining?

Lack of funding and training for artisanal gold miners. The use of chemicals, namely mercury, cyanide salts, sulfuric and nitric acids. Detergents, hydrocarbons and battery components are also pollutants for the environment, etc.

What are the solutions to improve artisanal gold mining?

Carry out a general census: gold panning sites and artisanal miners: This census will make it possible to identify all the gold panning sites, but also to know the real needs and difficulties in the field.

• Organize a rational organization of the artisanal miners: the miners are independent workers who, by nature, do not belong to any system of rational organization.

• Provide technical and financial support to gold miners: the organization of gold washing will allow gold miners to gain the confidence of technical and financial partners. Today, the artisanal miners have no access to any capital. Having neither status nor fixed income, the banks do not grant them credit.

• Monitor and control the activity of artisanal gold miners so that gold mining benefits everyone.

If our governments and leaders can invest in artisanal mining and small-scale mining, Africa’s economy can grow rapidly. Artisanal mining and small mines are the fastest methods of obtaining gold unlike large industrial mines which take many years to start mining and to reach this level it requires a lot of risky financing in exploration.

The 98% of the largest mining companies in Africa are for foreigners. Why?

Those who allow us to have gold in Africa if we want to buy gold to make jewelry or the like are these artisanal miners who risk their lives. It is time for our African governments to take gold mining in Africa seriously. Africa has so much natural wealth but we are considered the poorest in the world.

Africa is not a poor continent, wake up! If we don’t act, no one will do it for us.

Many foreign companies are taking the risk of investing millions of dollars in exploration to discover an economically exploitable deposit. There are so many exploration projects but 95% do not reach the level of extraction.

Africans can start investing in artisanal or small-scale mining before they think about a large mine.

Getting an exploration permit to go mining is not easy and difficult for a small business that doesn’t generate millions of dollars a month to get there. So many exploration permits whose holders are not able to cover the expenses of one year, including a minimum of 3 years renewable to 9 years for carrying out research and exploration studies.

SCOOPS ANAGO is open to any natural person or mining company who wishes to invest in artisanal mining, small mines or mineral exploration in Africa. Mining or exploration is not like mathematical calculations, it is a risky sector but it is the sector that brings in the most in West Africa.

President of SCOOPS ANAGO