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Discussion paper

Artisanal and small scale mining in Bougainville: risk, reward and regulation

Mining Small business Bougainville

This paper provides a high-level but comprehensive review of the status, as of mid-2016, of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM, or sometimes AASM) industry in post-conflict Bougainville, drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted during 2014–16. It focuses on the location of ASM activity and the modes and methods of production being used, the identity of miners, and the nature of their participation in ASM. It outlines preliminary findings regarding the way in which access is gained to land used in ASM. It then considers key issues raised by ASM under three broad headings: the economic rewards it generates; the environmental, social, cultural and safety risks associated with ASM; and informal and formal efforts at regulation of ASM activity.

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