Formalization of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Colombia: A Proposal for Improving Environmental, Social, and Economic Performance in a Post-Conflict Scenario.

Paper | March 16, 2020

To enable Colombian ASGM operators to transition to formality, a recommendation emerged for a National Unified Formalization Plan, which rests on six proposals that largely align with current policy and legislation.

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is an important economic activity in many rural areas, with a long tradition in Colombia. High rates of informality undermine governance, security, and legal economies, and cause significant environmental and social impacts. As the government of Colombia consolidates post-conflict conditions, the United States and Switzerland are providing assistance through the “Oro Legal” Activity of the United States Agency for International Development and “Better Gold Initiative for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining,” a public-private partnership between the Swiss Better Gold Association and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. A consultative process with a broad array of stakeholder groups yielded consensus on the principal obstacles to ASGM formalization, which create serious disincentives to entry into this process. To enable ASGM operators to transition to formality, a recommendation emerged for a National Unified Formalization Plan, which rests on six proposals that largely align with current policy and legislation.