ARM image miner with hard hat

Improving the artisanal and small-scale mining sector through due diligence: the CRAFT Code

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  • Natalia Uribe photo
    Standards and Certification Leader, Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM)

 

We are living currently in a situation where contributing to respect for human rights and the protection of the environment become more relevant every day. This is particularly true in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector. There are roughly 40 million artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) who depend on this activity for their livelihoods. In many cases, miners and their communities are vulnerable and are exposed to certain risks that, if not mitigated adequately with support and guidance, will affect their living conditions and access to opportunities.

With the goal of providing support and guidance to ASM communities,  the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and RESOLVE developed the Code of Risk-mitigation for ASM engaging in Formal Trade – CRAFT v1.0 – in 2018, thanks to the participation of a coalition of supply chain actors and experts, and the support of the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM).

The CRAFT overall intention is to “promote the sustainable social, environmental, and economic development of the ASM sector, by leveraging demonstrable conformance with due diligence requirements as an instrument for generating a positive development impact for ASM producers.”

CRAFT is a powerful tool in a demanding environment for companies and governments to implement due diligence practices, especially for international due diligence regulations, such as the EU Conflict Minerals Regulations, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, the US Dodd-Frank Act, National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights, and the due diligence laws in particular national legislations.

CRAFT proposes to convert the due diligence process to a tool for development and for the improvement of practices in the ASM sector. Industry, governments and development organizations play an important role to support in the mitigation of the risks linked with the sector and to find solutions to common challenges.

CRAFT 2.0 is now available with a renewed structure

CRAFT Code 2.0 print booklet

 

CRAFT has been under revision since 2020 to develop the second version with improvements based on experiences with CRAFT 1.0, with additional public consultation including valuable inputs from the Standard Committee and Advisory Group as well as mineral supply chain actors and experts.

Table of characteristics for CRAFT Code

CRAFT 2.0 is now composed of 3 volumes to address the specific needs of the public and to make the reading of the standard easier.

Volume 1: Introduction and general characteristics.
Volume 2:  Requirements for ASM mineral producers.
          Volume 2ACommodity-independent requirements.
          Volume 2BCommodity-specific requirements.
Volume 3: CRAFT for users or schemes.

An orientation guideline will also be published soon. The three volumes can be downloaded in one single book here in English and Spanish.

Key changes and improvements include:

  • The product scope was widened for more minerals and general and specific criteria for gold, 3T, cobalt and gemstones.
  • Simplification of the affiliation status: candidate and affiliate.
  • Criteria remain the same (Module 2,3, 4 and 5): alignment with OECD + other high risks but the consultation results suggest some recommendations for improvements in some of the criteria.
  • Clarifications were added to the criteria related to public and private security, child labor, gender violence, complaints mechanism and relationship with the community.
  • Precision of the definition of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mineral Producer (AMP) member.
  • Details on CRAFT principal instruments: CRAFT schemes & CRAFT report.
  • More guidance for communication was added.
  • A detailed explanation of open-source characteristics: the CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.
  • Specifications of the expected engagement and support to the ASM producers using CRAFT
Miner wearing hard hat - ARM image
Photo © ARM

planetGOLD: CRAFT application with an emphasis on the production practices and the environment protection

One of the remarkable characteristics of the CRAFT Code is it is an open-source standard. This facilitates adoption and adaptation from groups with different needs. This has been the spirit of CRAFT since its creation—to reach an agreement between supply chain actors and experts about ways to mitigate the high risks perceived in the ASM sector. Leaders of the planetGOLD programme have been proactively participating in the development of CRAFT 1.0 from the beginning as a member of the advisory group since 2017, and in the recent revision process to create CRAFT 2.0.

The planetGOLD programme criteria that will be announced shortly have been aligned to CRAFT. In fact, the criteria can be recognized as a CRAFT branch following the steps of the Creative Commons license. In addition to incorporating elements of the CRAFT Code, the planetGOLD Criteria include three specific additional criteria: eliminating mercury in the mining process, respecting and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and minimizing impact on biodiversity. 

This is exactly how CRAFT is intended to be used – to facilitate the application of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance in the ASM sector with a commitment from private and public actors to improving mining practices. It is a good example of cooperation and exchange between ASM initiatives to concentrate efforts toward helping the sector overcome challenges in formalization, mercury-free technology, and access to financial opportunities and formal markets. The inclusive and participatory multi-stakeholder process that ARM and RESOLVE carried out to develop a legitimate CRAFT standard is intended to give planetGOLD and others confidence that they can rely on this common agreement about the application of due diligence in the sector, with the goal of promoting development in the sector.

ARM image - ASOMUSELUPAZ
Photo © ARM

The CRAFT >> Fairmined model as an alternative to support the economic revival and formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining

The CRAFT model promotes the formalization and risk management of artisanal and small-scale mining organizations that start the access to the formal market and the mitigation of the high risks. It is a starting point of a journey of responsible mining. However, if companies want to take further steps to access fair gold, the Fairmined initiative offers the solution with the highest performance level requirements in the sustainable mineral standards for ASM. The Fairmined standard is an assurance label that certified formal mining organizations and guarantees that the organizations meet world-leading standards for responsible practices, delivering organizational and social development and environmental protection.

For more experiences with the application of CRAFT, visit the stories page and the press page on the CRAFT website. If you have any questions about CRAFT, you can visit the FAQ section. And for more information, contact standards@responsiblemines.org.

Video explanation of CRAFT (English):

Video explanation of CRAFT (Spanish):

 

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