Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is the primary source of gold production in Ecuador, accounting for 85 per cent of total national production. Ecuador ranks fourth in Latin America in both estimated gold production and total number or artisanal and small-scale gold miners. The Government of Ecuador has prioritized formalizing and professionalizing the sector to maximize its benefits while addressing the environmental and social challenges associated with ASGM. In keeping with Ecuador’s 2009 Mining Law Chapter II on Small Scale Mining, the Vice Ministry is taking a two-pronged approach: legalize and educate. The Vice Ministry’s commitment to small-scale mining includes promoting special technical assistance programs, environmental management, mining safety, and training and professional education.
CIRDI believes that education is an essential entry point for better organization of the ASM sector and that it will ultimately support the political process of formalization. This is in line with Ecuador’s Vice Ministry of Mines approach for transformation of the sector, which includes an emphasis on technical training and education for both miners and regulators. Therefore, CIRDI collaborated directly with the Government of Ecuador through the Vice Ministry of Mines on developing a long-term education and training program that blended Canadian and Ecuadorian technical expertise and experience to contribute, through education, to the development of a more socially and environmentally responsible small-scale mining sector.
Through data collection, consultative dialogue and pilot training modules, the project worked collaboratively with Ecuadorian counterparts to develop a locally appropriate ASM training program, and an inter-ministerial action plan to scale-up pilot training activities. The project aim was to be adaptive and participatory, by engaging stakeholders at both the national and local level, and responding to local needs. The four key project components included:
The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), strategically located at UBC, recognizes the value of academia-government-industry engagement and its ability to ensure that new knowledge is applicable and available […]