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ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR ARTISANAL MINING IN ETHIOPIA

This project is prepared by Zewdu Tadesse, Sori Chalchisa and Henock Atnafe. It has been presented at the regional conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on August 22nd, 2019.

The change project

Ethiopia has a huge potential of various mineral resources, but not yet well explored and exploited, and hence its contribution to the overall economy or GDP is low. However, as reported by the World Bank Group (2014), its contribution to the foreign exchange earnings reached about 10% of which the artisanal mining takes the lion’s share of over 65%. The artisanal mining also significantly contributes to the employment of at least 1.26 million people and supports the livelihood of over 7.5 million populations. The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and its line sectors are mandated to respond on the environmental issues and complaints of the people living in a project area for negative impacts and damages inflicted by the Artisanal mining activities.

The people and the environment at artisanal mine sites must be protected from any negative impacts from artisanal mining. The miners and the society around the mine site must be informed about potential dangers, immediate or long term. The miners and authorities must be aware of potential dangers, know how to avoid these, how to lessen the effect and how to safely close a mine site.

The Artisanal mining license holders are not entitled to submit Environmental Impact Assessment document or related environmental management plans as a prerequisite for license issuance. The Artisanal mining situation at the grassroots level does not consider the proclamations or any regulation of environmental issues. Therefore, damage to the environment is evident and significant.

Strong governance and management of the Artisanal mining sector will help the government of Ethiopia capture the positive benefits of Artisanal mining while ensuring that any negative environmental, social and economic impacts are minimized or eliminated. Hence, the guideline will help both the regulatory body and the licensees to minimize the likely negative environmental impacts.

Significance for the people and the environment

The guideline will improve or change the environment and society in such a way by creating awareness on Environmental management and guiding the miners on how to properly manage the environment during the mining process.

Moreover, this document will support environmentally acceptable and sound management of Artisanal Mining activities by delivering brief and easily understandable information to respond on the environmental issues and complaints of the people living in a project area for negative impacts and damages imposed.

Results and achievments

The change project has passed through different stages and now it has become final. In brief, the process includes the endorsement of change project by the organization and specifically by the Environment and Climate Change Directorate in the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and Oromia Regional State Mineral Development Authority. Then, the team has met and discussed on the framework and contents of the proposed guideline. After selection of five regions in which the artisanal mining is widely practiced interview with relevant experts and the miners have been conducted.

Desk review on the Environmental management concepts, the Ethiopian artisanal mining sector general overview, mining methodology and its Environmental impacts reports analysis and selection of simple terms to be used in the preparation of the guideline has been conducted. Then the team equipped with all the data gathered in office took a few days outside of Addis Ababa to draft the guideline and checklist. Finally, the draft final guideline has been prepared and validated within the Ministry key stakeholders. This guideline intended to be used in the spirit of continual improvement, to assist in promoting best practice in environmental management, in a manner that is pragmatic, efficient and cost-effective.

The way forward

A consultative workshop will be undertaken on the draft final guideline, dissemination and application of information about the document will be through training on the formulated guideline,implementing of the guideline for the Artisanal miners environmental management, and coming into consensus with relevant licensing authority, Artisanal Miners, and other stakeholders.

The people and the environment at artisanal mine sites must be protected from any negative impacts from artisanal mining. The miners and the society around the mine site also be informed about potential dangers, immediate or long term. The miners and authorities must be aware of potential dangers, know how to avoid these, how to lessen the effect and how to safely close a mine site.In order to implement effective Enviromental management activities the artisanal mining licencing and administration authorities must adopt and apply the environmental management preparation format as annexed in the document during the artisanal mining licence issuance and follow up its inplementation.

This guideline is meant to highlight the importance of environmental protection, to provide a basic check list for Environmental management of the artisanal mining sector. It is used both by the artisanal miners and the regulatory body as a check and balance tool in managing and evaluating the environmental impacts during and after mining activities ceased. It helps the miners to identify environmental baseline information and present the environmental management plan of their mining activities to the licensing authority. 

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