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Participation as policy: time to formalise artisanal and small-scale mining in Colombia

Widely regarded as unsustainable and dangerous, Colombia’s artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector is largely informal — characterised by poor working conditions and inadequate regulation.

With only one third of operations legally licensed, hundreds of thousands of miners lack legal and social protections. Although successive governments have recognised ASM’s potential for sustainable rural development and pursued formalisation, this has often excluded the voices of the informal ASM sector and had limited effect.

Now, as national and global drivers align to make this a time of possibility for inclusive ASM formalisation, we examine current barriers, opportunities and learnings to recommend policy-level action.

This publication forms part of IIED’s work to identify pathways towards inclusive and responsible mining.

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