Many African countries are considering mainstreaming artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) as a catalyst for inclusive growth. ASM has been touted as having the potential to improve rural livelihoods, with greater distributional benefits to mining communities than those derived from large-scale mining. However, the destructive nature of ASM activities on the environment is raising considerable concern regarding the negative impact on agriculture and the sustainability of mineral-rich rural communities.
This study assesses the relationship between ASM activities and smallholder agriculture in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso with a view to determining whether the two practices can sustainably provide complementary livelihoods in rural communities where ASM activities are widespread. It also explores the resource-use (land and water) management policies and regulations that can create opportunities for ASM without adverse long-term impact on smallholder farming. The study provides lessons and recommendations as the first step in seeking solutions to the challenges identified.