Amalgamation | Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining(ASM) | Biodiversity | Community | Conflict-affected and high-risk areas(CAHRA) | Child labour | Chemical leaching | Concentration | Critical habitats | Cultural heritage | Cyanide | Downstream | Due diligence | Formalization | Gender-based violence | Gender equality | Grievance procedure | Indigenous peoples | Informal ASGM | Legal ASGM | Legalization | Minamata Convention on Mercury | National Action Plan (NAP) | OECD Due Diligence Guidance (DDG) for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas | OECD Due Diligence Guidance (DDG) Annex II risks | Pollution | Protected Areas | Tailings | Vulnerable Group | Whole ore amalgamation | Worst forms of child labor | Worst practices
A mineral processing method by which gold particles are alloyed and agglomerated using mercury to create "amalgam" (a gold-mercury alloy or composite), which is then heated to evaporate the mercury, leaving gold.
Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining(ASM)
Formal or informal mining operations with predominantly simplified forms of exploration, extraction, processing and transportation. ASM is normally low capital intensive and uses labor intensive technology. ASM can include children, women and men working on an individual basis as well as those working in family groups, in partnership, or as members of cooperatives or other types of legal associations and enterprises involving hundreds or even thousands of miners. *It should be noted that the definition of ASM varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.
The variability among living organisms from all sources, including diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems; encompassing, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are a part.
A group of people that share the same geographical space or have a common interest that brings them together. Community members generally share some beliefs and values. A community is any group of people that may experience positive or negative effects from nearby operations.
Conflict-affected and high-risk areas(CAHRA)
As defined by the OECD (2016b), identified by the presence of armed conflict, widespread violence or other risks of harm to people. Armed conflict may take a variety of forms, such as a conflict of international or non-international character, which may involve two or more states, or may consist of wars of liberation, or insurgencies, civil wars, etc. High-risk areas may include areas of political instability or repression, institutional weakness, insecurity, collapse of civil infrastructure and widespread violence. Such areas are often characterized by widespread human rights abuses and violations of national or international law.
Source: Alliance for Responsible Mining. (2020). Code of Risk-mitigation for ASM engaging in Formal Trade – Version 2.0.; OECD (2016b). (Due diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.)
Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to any work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by; depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Source: International Labour Organization. (2013). (Webpage: What is child labor ).
A process used to recover gold from ore or tailings. Different chemical reagents can be used, but cyanide is the most common. Cyanide leaching of mercury-contaminated tailings without first removing the mercury is an ASGM worst practice under the Minamata Convention.
A state of being in accordance with established guidelines, specifications, or legislation.
In mineral processing, the separation of valuable minerals (in this case gold) from the other raw materials present in the extracted ore or sediment. The most common type of concentration in ASGM settings is gravity concentration, a process to separate gold from other materials by taking advantage of their differences in density.
Habitats with high biodiversity value, including (i) Habitats of significant importance to Critically Endangered or Endangered species, as listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species or equivalent national approaches, (ii) Habitats of significant importance to endemic or restricted-range species, (iii) Habitats supporting globally or nationally significant concentrations of migratory or congregatory species, (iv) highly threatened or unique ecosystems, and (v) ecological functions or characteristics that are needed to maintain the viability of the biodiversity values described in (i) and (v).
Tangible and intangible cultural heritage, including movable or immovable objects, sites, structures, natural features, and landscapes that have archeological, paleontological, historical, architectural, religious , aesthetic, or other cultural significance, located in urban or rural settings, above ground, underground or underwater; as well as practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, or skills- as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith-that communities, groups, and in some cases individuals, recognize as part of their heritage, as transmitted from generation to generation and constantly recreated by them in response to nature and a shared history.
A chemical used in leaching gold from ore or tailings. Cyanide is extremely toxic. However, unlike mercury, it degrades rapidly in the environment. Cyanide leaching can obtain very high gold recovery rates and is used in many industrial mining operations.
Used in relation to the point where ASM gold produced is sold to supply chain actors such as refiners and gold buyers.
An on-going, proactive and reactive process through which companies can identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their actual and potential adverse impacts as an integral part of business decision-making and risk management systems. Due diligence can help companies ensure they observe the principles of international law and comply with domestic laws, including those governing the illicit trade in minerals and UN sanctions.
A process that ensures that ASGM actors are licensed and organized in representative entities that represent their needs; policies are implemented, monitored, and enforced; and ASGM actors receive technical, administrative, and financial support that empowers them to adhere to requirements prescribed by national regulations.
Any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed differences between male and female individuals, including acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering; threats of such acts; and coercion and other deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
The equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and of girls and boys. This means that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.
A non-judicial procedure that offers a formalized means through which individuals or groups can raise concerns about the impact an enterprise has on them -including, but not exclusively, on their human rights- and can seek remedy. These mechanisms may use adjudicative, dialogue based or other processes that are culturally appropriate and rights-compatible.
People belonging to a distinct social and cultural group characterized in varying degrees by (i) self-identification as members of a distinct indigenous social and cultural group and recognition of this identity by others; (ii) collective attachment to geographically distinct Habitats, ancestral territories, or areas of seasonal use or occupation as well as to the natural resources in these areas; (iii) customary cultural, economic, social, or political institutions that are distinct or separate from those of the mainstream society or culture; and (iv) a distinct language or dialect, often different from the official language or languages of the country or region in which they reside. “To varying degrees” reflects the fact that some characteristics may be less, or no longer, evident, but have been present and are relevant in identifying Indigenous Peoples.
ASGM actors who, regardless of their legal status, are not organized in or effectively represented by a legal entity and do not benefit from enforcement of policies that enable them to understand and comply with the requirements set in national regulations.
ASGM actors who are recognized by national law, are in possession of mining licenses and permits, and adhere to any other standards as required by national regulations.
A process that ensures that ASGM actors possess the licenses and permits required by national law.
Minamata Convention on Mercury
A global treaty that entered into force in August 2017 aiming to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle is a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.
National Action Plan (NAP)
Parties to the Minamata Convention which determine their ASGM activities are “more than insignificant” (Article 7.3) are required to develop and implement an ASGM NAP in accordance with Annex C of the Convention. Among other things, the NAP must include actions to eliminate the ASGM worst practices.
OECD Due Diligence Guidance (DDG) for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas
Aims to help companies respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral sourcing practices. The Guidance also intends to cultivate transparent mineral supply chains and sustainable corporate engagement in the mineral sector with a view to enabling countries to benefit from their mineral resources and preventing the extraction and trade of minerals from becoming a source of conflict, human right abuses, and insecurity.
OECD Due Diligence Guidance (DDG) Annex II risks
The lists of serious human rights abuses and contribution to conflict that cannot be tolerated in Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals. The risks have significant adverse impacts which may be associated with extracting, trading, handling and exporting minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
Hazardous and non-hazardous chemical pollutants in the solid, liquid, or gaseous phases; as well as thermal discharge to water, emissions of short-and long-lived climate pollutants, nuisance odors, noise, vibration, radiation, electromagnetic energy, and the creation of potential visual impacts, including light.
Clearly defined geographical spaces, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.
An intermediate or final product from mineral processing with a non-economic concentration of the mineral. Tailings are deposited at tailings dumps or in tailings ponds. In some cases, tailings can be reprocessed to recover remaining minerals.
A group whose vulnerability may be based on socio-economic condition, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, or other criteria that influence people’s ability to assess resources and development opportunities.
Whole ore amalgamation
Occurs when miners add mercury directly to ore without first employing concentration to reduce the volume and increase the grade. It is an ASGM worst practice under the Minamata Convention.
Worst forms of child labor
As defined by the International Labour Organization Convention 182 defines the worst forms of child labour as:
- All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
- The use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
- The use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; and
- Work which is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. This includes hazardous work as defined above.
as identified, by the Minamata Convention, to eliminate include: whole ore amalgamation; open burning of amalgam; burning amalgam in residential areas; cyanide leaching in sediment, ore or tailings to which mercury has been added without first removing the mercury.