Mining Training and Extension Centers (MTECs) for the dissemination and monitoring of environmentally responsible ASGM practices in place, and incentives for their broader adoption identified and piloted.
The project will set the stage for the dissemination of environmentally responsible ASGM practices through the design of an innovative system of “mining extension”, which will be piloted in the project demonstration sites. The purpose of this extension system is to increase miners’ technical knowledge on best practices, raise awareness of the negative environmental and health impacts of current mining practices and assist them in shifting to ERM practices. In contrast to the earlier experiences of the Mining Service Centres (MSCs), which were oriented towards controlling illegal mining activities (a punitive approach), this project will adopt an approach focused more on the needs of the miners and their communities, to encourage the adoption of ERM practices.
To do this, the project will support the establishment of “Mining Training and Extension Centres” (MTECs), which will act as a one-stop shop for training, technical support, and the delivery of social incentives to support adoption of ERM practices. Tying the delivery of incentives to MTEC will help attract miners and their families to the centers, and will also help strengthen commitment. To address trust issues it is currently foreseen that each MTEC will be operated an NGO, which will be responsible for managing the centre, and for providing technical services to miners (see Figure 5).
To ensure that lessons learned from this model inform policy-making, and to set the stage for future replication, each MTEC will receive guidance from a Local Advisory Committee (LAC) which will be composed of NIMOS, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Geological and Mining Services (GMD), the Commission for enforcement of the Gold Sector (Ordening Goudsector - OGS), the district commissioner’s office, health and environmental officers, the surrounding communities or village organizations, women’s and indigenous peoples representatives, as well as private sector actors of the area. The LAC will also serve as a platform for dialogue among the stakeholders, allowing all to voice their concerns, serving as a conflict prevention mechanism and a place to address grievances. The project will fund the travel costs to bring all the key stakeholders together for regular LAC meetings. The project will also ensure that LACs identify a local partner who can take on the management of the MTEC after the project has completed, to ensure their capacity is built and resources are available for the continuation of the work.
 The Geological and Mining Services (GMD) of the Ministry of Natural Resources is currently undergoing a process of upgrade into a fully autonomous agency, which will be called Mining Institute (MINAS). The process is expected to be completed by 2018, after which point, MINAS will replace GMD in all project activities. This activity is receiving support from various partners, including SEMIF.
MTECs will deploy technical services to artisanal and small scale miners as folllows: (i) support for the identification of best available environmentally responsible technologies tailored to each site, according to the geological and environmental conditions; (ii) training of trainers provided to “lead miners”, equipment holders and concession holders on environmentally responsible gold mining techniques; (iii) demonstration of environmentally responsible gold mining techniques and provision of ongoing technical advice to miners (at MTEC site and in surrounding areas); and (iv) hosting of a repair and maintenance shop for environmentally responsible mining technologies and related equipment.
Given that many miners in the area operate under illegality, the MTECs will target a part of the training to the larger concession holders on the environmentally responsible practices and norms they should uphold on their concessions. Through this training, it is hoped that some medium-scale gold miners, concession holders and gold mining companies will provide additional sites for demonstration of ER gold mining methods. For example, Grassalco, a medium-sized state-owned gold mining company has set up a mining operation in an area that was previously mined by small-scale gold miners. Because of the generally inefficient methods used by small-scale gold miners, the company is still able to recover sufficient gold for a profitable operation. The company also plans to carry out land rehabilitation. In general, it is important to get medium-scale gold miners and mining license holders on board with more environmentally friendly gold mining techniques, due to the fact that they often hold the mining licenses for areas where they permit small-scale gold mining to take place.
The managing NGO for each MTEC will be responsible for setting up the organizational structure, deploying the human and technical resources, for delivering trainings and demonstrations at the MTEC site as well as in the surrounding mining sites, and for formalizing and operatonalizing the incentive schemes for miners, in partnership with other stakeholders. (For more information on MTECs, refer to Annex P: MTEC operations and model). The MTEC will be set up in a central and accessible location, with some training delivered at site, and some delivered in a roving manner as demonstration teams move with the equipment from one mine site to the next.
Lead miners and their teams who will benefit from the project’s support will be selected by the MTEC. Participating ASGM associations or groups will be registered in each site, using an ID-card system. Miners targeted by the project’s activities will need to be legally compliant registered operators, and self-organized in an association or group. The MTEC will provide support to miners who are not already formed into groups to create mining associations. Support from MTECs to creating associations will include organising and funding meetings, and the provision of legal and administrative support.
The repair and maintenance center of the MTEC will grant access to mining equipment, spare parts and technical assistance for environmentally responsible mining technologies. As part of the MTEC’s mandate, miners will also receive training on repair and maintenance applied to the ERM practices and associated equipment. Once trained on maintaining and repairing equipment, miners will be able to volunteer in the shop to assist other miners in maintaining their equipment, in exchange for which they will have access to the tools to repair their own equipment and have discounts on purchasing spare parts. Revenues from selling spare parts will be re-injected in the training of miners.
Furthermore, to ensure that miners will make full use of the knowledge available at the MTEC, incentives for themselves, their families and the broader community will be identified, and a comprehensive incentive scheme will be designed with institutional partners. For example, MTEC will propose support for miners’ associations, advice on conflict resolution, including advice on land claims, health awareness activities, along with access to social programs provided by other partners, such as NGOs, health institutions, private sector, or the government. These could include: healthcare for women and children, including vaccinations and primary care, maternal and family planning services, nutrition advice, or remote education, vocational training (particularly for women and youth) and literacy programs.
The MTECs will also promote a gender-sensitive approach so that both women and men are engaged in all activities the centres propose. In addition, MTECs will depart from the usual approach to training by offering training modules continuously, and by offering training on a roving basis, rather than requiring that miners leave their sites and forego income while benefitting from capacity building. Please refer to Output 3 for more details on how the training will be delivered to miners, and Annex P provides a description of the MTEC model.
In addition, the MTECs will help deliver short and long-term community-based monitoring activities to build an evidence base on the environmental, economic, financial, and social (e.g. health) benefits of the disseminated practices. The project will build on the results from the ACT’s on-going Park Rangers project, where villagers are trained to execute community-based monitoring activities in the vicinity of project demonstration sites, with the three MTECs.
The specific activities under this output include:
- Establish and operationalize Mining Training and Extension Centers (MTECs) near each of the three demonstration locations in collaboration with GMD, OGS, MNR and NIMOS, including by purchasing and setting up demonstration equipment.
- Identify best available technologies for each demonstration location, according to the geological conditions, local community consultation, cost effectiveness and other criteria
- Design incentive scheme for trainees who adopt ERM practices.
- Support mining communities’ groups in the creation of mining associations in demonstration sites, including organizing and funding meetings, providing legal and administrative support.
- Undertake community-based monitoring activities to build the evidence base on the environmental, economic, and social (e.g. health) benefits of the piloted ERM practices in the demonstration sites.