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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An application of economic growth pole to improving the environmental and socio-economic aspects of artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso Compaore, Ivan A.


Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a poverty driven activity in many developing countries, associated with environmental and social degradation such as acid rock drainage, soil erosion, child labour, gambling, prostitution, alcoholism and social instability due to worker migration (Veiga et al., 2014a). Although ASM is an informal and illegal activity, it has been tolerated in developing countries because of its significant economic role in poverty reduction. Indeed, it has been estimated that about 100 million people across developing countries depend on artisanal mining for their livelihoods (World Bank, 2013) and Burkina Faso (located in West Africa) as a developing country is not spared the environment and socio-economic impacts related to ASM. The objectives of the model developed in this study are to mitigate the environmental impacts of artisanal mining while enhancing its socio-economic benefits. The developed model is based on the theory of an economic growth pole (EGP) and its concepts of inter-industry linkage, external economies, and agglomeration. This approach has found success in better and sustainable organization of the agricultural sector in Burkina Faso, where most of the small farmers were previously left alone to produce food without tools, proper regulation, finance and land titles. In this study, the economic and environmental factors affecting artisanal mining have been defined and analysed in order to apply them to the EGP model. The starting EGP model suggests that first a clean processing plant is required to generate sustainable growth, followed by a working organization to centralize activities and ensure better growth distribution for stakeholders (investors, miners, national authorities). As a theoretical approach toward the artisanal mining sector, there are no previous cases of the application of an economic growth pole. Therefore, this study discusses the feasibility of the model and its ability to tackle the impacts of artisanal mining. Importantly, the model tries to tackle the issues in artisanal mining by removing the financial restrictions for implementation of technological services at artisanal mining sites, and by providing a working organization for better distribution of revenues from technological service and for controlling the impacts of processing on the environment and health.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International