Over the past two decades, mineral-rich sub-Saharan Africa has been transformed by the growth of informal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)–low tech, labour-intensive mineral extraction and processing that employs rudimentary tools, and has low barriers to entry for poor people. While the livelihood benefits of ASM sector are largely undisputed, policies and programmes aimed at minimising its environmental footprint have to date had limited success. Focusing on the case of Sierra Leone, a country with one of the largest and most dynamic ASM economies in sub-Saharan Africa, this study will generate much-needed data on the environmental impacts of the sector, deepen understanding of how ecosystems services and dependent livelihoods are impacted by its activities, and propose more tangible, empirically grounded solutions capable of facilitating the sustainability of the sector. The project brings together an experienced interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Bath, who will work closely with Sierra Leonean communities, researchers and policymakers to facilitate the co-production of knowledge, and ensure that the research findings will directly inform strategies to formalise the ASM sector while simultaneously reducing environmental impacts. The project will engage a diverse range of stakeholders, in the process establishing new relationships between all project partners, and building an international academic collaboration around research on sustainable natural resource management and development.
|Effective start/end date||1/11/18 → 31/07/19|