State gold-buying programmes. Effective instruments to reform the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector?
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining provides a living to some 100 million people, offering huge potential for rural development. Yet the sector remains mostly informal and difficult to regulate despite decades of efforts by governments around the world to address this. Can state gold-buying programmes (SGBPs) be an effective tool for governments – to not only bolster state financial reserves, but also to reform the sector, raising its standards and improving its environmental and social outcomes? And can these programmes operate in countries that often lack institutional capacity, infrastructure and stability? This paper analyses case studies in five countries, drawing out the challenges and potential factors for success in developing an effective SGBP.