Alleviating some Environmental Impacts resulting from Artisanal and Small-scaleMining Sector: A Critical Review
This paper highlights the importance of transforming Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector into a more sustainable enterprise and shows the reclamation of despoiled mined sites as an opportunity to return land to beneficial uses which do not compromise future development of the sites. It presents some of environmental impacts produced by ASM and the contribution of a geomorphological approach to alleviate them. The methodology consisted of the review supported by field survey in small-scale mining areas to summarize the most relevant scientific findings and the importance of stabilizing the land that will support sustainably reclamation structures. The impacts include haphazard excavations with no land reclamation plan, pits, trenches inadequately protected, siltation of open water bodies, soil and rock wastes, negative change of soil properties, and accelerated erosion of the mine sites. To transform the sector into a more responsible industry, ASM has to be placed within two integrated perspectives: (i) building the capacity of ASM sector, and (ii) promoting restoration approach by building a critical knowledge mass through collaboration of relevant stakeholders, with emphasis on multidisciplinary approach.The study opens a relevant new research field and emphasises on the collaboration of mining stakeholders including local communities to develop an integrated approach to address challenges that ASM industry is facing in developing countries. This review highlights the impacts of small-scale mining sector on land use potentials and it is essential
contribution towards the sustainability of ASM industry and reclamation of despoiled mined lands.
Key Words: small-scale mining sector, environmental impact, geomorphologic approach, sustainability