The planetGOLD project in Colombia, UNDP and the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia, in alliance with six national and international organizations focused on the mining sector, developed a comprehensive awareness kit that includes a unified biosecurity protocol for self-care of workers in small-scale mining and subsistence mining during the health emergency generated by COVID-19.
The strategy called #MineríaSinCOVID19 (“Mining Without COVID19”) integrates different awareness-raising actions to guide mining communities in different regions of Colombia in the prevention of COVID-19 in mining operations and activities.
This initiative had a launch event and a webinar led by the Vice Minister of Mines of Colombia, Carolina Rojas Hayes, and which included the participation of different organizations that spoke about the challenges of small-scale mining and subsistence mining in times of COVID-19.
"The mining sector has been prioritized since the beginning of the quarantine due to the health emergency, particularly small-scale mining and subsistence miners are fundamental to the country's economic recovery, and since then we have been accompanying miners in coordination with the authorities. This is how we saw the need to integrate in a protocol all the information on self-care so that miners are sufficiently clear about the damage caused by the virus and understand the importance of taking the necessary measures to counter its spread. We present the fruit of this hard work under the slogan: When we take care of ourselves, we beat the virus," said Carolina Rojas.
Jimena Puyana, Manager of Sustainable Development for UNDP in Colombia and National Director of the planetGOLD programme, also participated in the panel. In her speech, Puyana highlighted the importance of reactivating the economic development of mining communities to face the pandemic crisis through different actions and articulations:
“UNDP and the planetGOLD project work in coordination with the Ministry of Mines and Energy on three key strategies to face the pandemic in the small-scaleand subsistence mining sector: one, the elimination of 20 tonnes of mercury; two, the creation of awareness strategies to prevent COVID-19; and three, the strengthening of economies based on agro-biodiversity of women's agro-mining associations in the project's intervention regions,” said Jimena Puyana.
The event highlighted the synergy developed during the last month, where organizations from the sector were not only integrated, but mining cooperatives also participated in the creation of content that reflected the good practices of miners to prevent the spread of the virus.
The end result of this great initiative includes the “Mining Without COVID-19 awareness module” that brings together self-care actions to mitigate the risk of infection, a work protocol for small mining companies and a pedagogical guide with more illustrative content, in addition to didactic graphic pieces such as posters, animated videos and radio spots to reach artisanal miners in the region who use community radio as their recurring information channel.
- The mining sector in Colombia generates 350,000 jobs, among which there are 110,000 miners registered in the subsistence mining registry and at least 30,000 people who work directly in small-scale mining, including those who are in the process of formalizing.
- The pedagogical guide is one of the key tools developed with the support of the planetGOLD Colombia project. It proposes a double sensitization action by: 1) alerting about the vulnerabilities of mining populations that have used polluting substances and 2) promoting the use of clean technologies as good practices during the pandemic.
- The awareness material also includes help lines to prevent, inform, and report cases of gender violence and intra-family violence, which unfortunately increases during emergencies such as COVID-19.
- The ”Mining Without COVID19” strategy arises at a key moment for the country since in the areas of mining activity, the number of infections has been minimal and these biosafety protocols will help to continue the work with all precautions.
- Click here to relive the virtual conversation "Challenges of small-scale and subsistence mining in times of COVID-19."
- To access the Mining Without COVID-19 awareness module and the different pedagogical tools, click here
Allied organizations and strategy participants:
Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM): a global initiative born with the aim of transforming artisanal and small-scale mining into a socially and environmentally responsible activity that improves the quality of life of miners and their environment.
Oro Responsable - a project of the Swiss Cooperation: an initiative that starts from the desire to improve the situation of Small and Medium Scale Mining. It was established in 2013 as a public-private partnership between the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) and the Swiss Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, SECO.
Coodmilla Ltda: a cooperative belonging to the special regime, that is, a non-profit entity, subject to inspection and surveillance by the Superintendence of the Solidarity Economy. Its corporate purpose is to carry out mining within the licenses granted by the mining authority, to support small miners thanks to the provision of training services, technical advice, acquisition of supplies, machinery services, and gold trading.
Corporation for Regional Service Centers - Corcreser: a non-profit entity made up of a team of professionals who participated, for nearly five years, in the execution of the Oro Legal Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The entity provides mining technical support services, rehabilitation of degraded areas, support in the implementation of occupational health and safety management systems, business advice, consulting and design of alternative production projects.
Oro Legal: an initiative supported by the United States government, through its Agency for International Development (USAID), which seeks to respond to the governance challenges that have arisen during the last decade, address the environmental impact caused by illegal gold mining, and support Colombia's peacebuilding efforts.
Solidaridad: an international civil society organization, registered in Colombia under the name of Fundación Solidaridad Latinoamericana (FSLA), with almost 50 years of worldwide experience in facilitating the development and expansion of responsible and traceable value chains in 13 products such as coffee, cocoa, flowers, palm oil, textiles and gold. Since 2006, the Global Gold Solidarity Program has been active in more than 50 mining communities in 8 countries: Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ghana, Argentina, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.