About SASMin – University of Copenhagen

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About SASMin
The rationale for SASMin

With increased mineral exploitation and the resulting demand for land, the need for formalising the small-scale mining sector has become increasingly apparent. In order for the full potential of small-scale mining to materialize, the adverse effects of the sector need to be addressed. Interest in the sector has steadily increased and during the past 15 years, small-scale mining has become the focus of concern for a number of aid agencies, NGOs, and national governments. The support efforts, however, have brought only limited results. Besides the high in-flux of large-scale mining investments, explanations for this emphasize top-down support approaches failing to adequately involve beneficiaries, restricted capacity within government institutions, and support institutions' insufficient knowledge of small-scale mining populations. Microeconomic behavioural data on miners' earnings, expenditure, investments, and savings are essential when designing small-scale mining support programmes. In order to collect such data, thorough field-based research, for which only few researchers have the time, skill and access is required. Thus, clearly, more knowledge on small-scale miners is needed in order to increase the efficiency of policies and interventions aimed at improving their living and working conditions.

Centre for Sustainable Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (SASMin) works to add knowledge on the small-scale mining sector through engaging in research and consultancy work. The centre is an interdisciplinary unit for research and consultancy work consisting of staff from the research group ‘Environment and Society in Developing Countries' from the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Copenhagen and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). Initially, the centre is intended to work predominantly in Tanzania and Ghana, where the staff members have local knowledge as well as contact to well-established small-scale mining research and consultancy communities.