In June 2018, CIRDI hosted a five-day workshop in Dominican Republic with the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). The workshop connected people from across Latin American and the Caribbean who are leading their nations’ efforts to formalize artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).
CIRDI program managers Mikhaela Meznaric and Andre Xavier joined Marina Ruete of IGF to deliver a program focused on building an ASM management strategy.
Across the region many artisanal miners exist in a legal grey area that keeps them from drawing a safer, better livelihood from the earth.
Mikhaela set the tone for the workshop’s gender component by explaining how using a gender lens offers an opportunity to develop a sustainable, inclusive formalization process. CIRDI’s work on gender equality is founded on the reality that in resource-dependent communities, women are more likely to face risks generated as a result of resource extraction and development, and much less likely to access related benefits and remedial measures.
Olinda Orozco of Red Social tested the comfort level of some of the delegates when she led a gender gap analysis activity that challenged conventional thinking. Olinda, whose NGO speaks for women and small-scale miners, recounted lessons learned in Peru, a country that is leading Latin America with its formalization process.
Mikhaela also delivered a session that looked at the root causes for bad safety practices in ASM and offered the Canadian experience in creating a “culture of safety.”
Safety is a major concern for the government of Dominican Republic where a mix of poverty and global demand drives a trade in gemstones more valuable than gold: Larimar and blue-amber. Gemstones have the potential to improve the livelihoods of artisanal and small-scale miners but come at significant cost to human health and the environment. A field trip to artisanal amber mines where miners work 30 meters and more below the surface in shafts dug through soft rock reinforced for the workshop participants the dangers artisanal miners face on a regular basis.
Later, Andre facilitated an exercise that explored recommendations to the Dominican Republic government on strategies for governments to support and foster value addition along ASM supply chains.