Supporting Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining In Rural Africa

Amsha Africa Foundation (AAF) is actively working with communities in rural Africa practicing artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).

Our objectives for these rural mining communities are as follows:

  • Provide technical assistance and access to financing to increase productivity coupled with social protection and fair labor standards.
  • Interplay of mining with other aspects of local economies to promote better integrated rural development strategies.
  • Pilot efforts to model clean supply chains or fair trade minerals as a means to spread the principle of responsibility across the supply chain.
  • Provide fair trade market linkages locally and overseas and ensure the local communities get the most out of their sold minerals

ASM Objectives Flowchart

 

Background

Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) occurs in approximately 80 countries worldwide including every country in Africa.

There are approximately 100 million artisanal miners globally according to the World Bank.

Artisanal and small-scale production supply accounts for 80% of global sapphire, 20% of gold mining and up to 20% of diamond mining.

It is widespread in developing countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Central and South America.

Though the informal nature and on the whole un-mechanized operation generally results in low productivity, the sector represents an important livelihood and income source for the poverty affected local population.

It ensures the existence for millions of families in rural areas of developing countries.

About 100 million people – workers and their families - depend on artisanal mining compared to about 7 million people worldwide in industrial mining.

The Project Team

The project team is cross-disciplinary with academics from the social sciences, engineering, health and humanities in the US, Kenya and Tanzania.We draw on the local knowledge, skills and technologies of miners and mining stakeholders (i.e. the national and local governments, mining associations, community based organisations, non-governmental organizations, local communities and religious organisations) to co-create context driven bottom-up solutions that mitigate the impact of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) activities on the natural environment, occupational health and safety, and the social inclusion and well-being of miners and local communities.

Mining Locations

We are currently supporting communities in the Taita Taveta County in Kenya and the Manyara Region in Tanzania. 

Mining Regions

The mines are community owned and contain mineral veins with rare gemstones.

MinesGarnets

Gemstones Mined

The ASM communities we support mine a variety of gemstones, but most notably the following rarities:

Tsavorite

Tsavorite Garnet
Tsavorite garnet is today one of the rarest and most coveted gemstones in the world. Its mystical forest green color is part of the reason why it has become so famous within just a few years of its discovery. An emerald-green variety of grossular garne, Tsavorite garnet is suitable for any type of jewelry, tsavorites can be faceted into many designs

Ruby

Ruby
Ruby is extremely rare and one of the most valuable precious gemstones in nature. Pockets of ruby deposits have been found in two mines that AAF supports. Ruby offers breathtaking color, ranging from brownish red to light red similar to ripe raspberries, excellent hardness second only to a diamond, and irresistible brilliance

Chrome Tourmaline

chrome tourmaline

First discovered in Tanzania in the 1960's, chrome tourmaline is a fairly new addition to the vast tourmaline family. A true collector's gem, chrome tourmaline exhibits bright green color that resembles, and even rivals, that of the finest emeralds.

Tanzania Purple Garnet

Tanzania Purple Garnet

 

These rare garnets have been found in Kenya and Madagascar and prices range from about $500 to $3,000 per carat, depending on size, color and quality. Purple Garnet is a rare hybrid garnet found in East Africa.

Merelani Mint Garnet

Mirerani Mint Garnet

Merelani Mint Garnet is named for the region of Tanzania where it was discovered and the light green color that gem collectors love

Mahenge Peach Garnet

Mahenge peach garnet
Mahenge peach garnet is a stunningly beautiful, extremely rare gemstone available in three distinctly beautiful hues; imperial (orange-pink similar to Imperial Topaz), purplish-pink and purple.

Tanzanites - Cut

Tanzanites cut

Poised between lush blue, vibrant violet, and rich purple, exotic tanzanite is found in only one place on earth, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.

Clear Garnet 

White Garnet

The rarest Garnets are peach, green and clear. This garnet from one of the community mines we support is extremely rare.

 Governing Principles

Ethics Transparency Fairness

Ethics

Fair Trade means so more to us than just do-no-harm or simply following the law. It means going above and beyond to ensure a positive impact touches every person and environment that we work with. From community projects, environmental rebuilds, to fundraisers, we are always looking for ways to do more and offer opportunities for customers to be involved.

Transparency

Following the journey of a gem from Mine to Market, we can guarantee full and complete information about each gem is shared. There is no chance of undisclosed sources or illegally procured gemstones. We partner with certified gemologists and gem cutters and are working on a program to certify all the gemstones coming from our partner community mines. 

Fairness

We help our partner communities get fair prices for their gemstones by purchasing directly from their mines and linking them to fair trade markets they would otherwise not have had access to. Our promise to our partner communities is to support them through the value and supply chain huddles and always get them the best fair trade market available. 

 Key Results To Our Objectives

  1. Identify 5 fair trade partners based in the U.S. who can import our community mined gemstones by August 2022
  2. Expand our ASM partnership to 3 additional communities in East Africa by the end of 2022
  3. Create an online marketplace where our ASM community can safely and legally trade their mined gemstones at fair trade prices
  4. Sponsor 5 ASM community leaders to get certified as gemologist in local colleges by the end of 2022
  5. Provide 3 compressors to our ASM community organizations by the end of 2022

Partnerships

Please contact us through our website if you want to become a partner in this project either as a fair trade buyer or as a sponsor of one of our key results listed above.