Artisanal mining must become sustainable
However, artisanal mining activities also destroy and degrade forests through habitat destruction, the use of toxic chemicals such as mercury, pollution of waterways, etc.
Destructive practicesThe livelihood practices supporting artisanal mining populations include additional destructive activities such as gathering firewood and timber for construction, hunting for bushmeat, combining the trade of minerals with ivory and wildlife trade.
Artisanal mining is also a growing driver for internal migration and colonization of frontier forest lands, leading to land clearance and settlements in areas that would probably remain untouched otherwise.
It breeds a number of social ills and environmental health issues that are impoverishing resident communities.
Particular concernThe impacts of artisanal mining on both the environment and livelihoods are of particular concern in several important landscapes of the Green Heart of Africa.
For example, the Minkebe National Park in Gabon is an important protected area that has suffered gold rushes and population booms in the last decade.