Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining
In many parts of the world, artisanal or small-scale mining (ASM) activities are at least as important as large-scale mining activities, particularly in terms of the numbers of people employed. ASM can play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and rural development; most of those involved are poor and mining represents the most promising, if not the only, income opportunity available. However, the sector is perhaps better known for its high environmental costs and poor health and safety record. Many continue to view it as dirty, unprofitable and fundamentally unsustainable.