Channel Research commissioned Levin Sources to conduct artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) specialist studies in West Africa for an Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of a mine expansion. Levin Sources led specialist studies on land tenure and ASM, including a situational analysis and baseline of ASM; an ASM economic study; and impact assessment. The team also coordinated closely with other members of the social, economic, and governance teams. Levin Sources' 2010 work was updated by the team in 2012, as significant time had passed and the ASM situation had changed. The aim of the 2012 work was to evaluate the potential impact of the mine on surrounding communities and identify suitable mitigation measures.
Levin Sources' researchers journeyed to the field to interview miners, buyers, financiers, jewellers, shopkeepers, village & religious leaders, government officials, and vulnerable groups. A range of other methods was also used, including participatory mapping, conflict mapping, site assessments, and focus groups at the village level. The 2012 study included a focus on the value chain and the economic impact of ASM on the local town. The qualitative analysis was supplemented by quantitative data provided through the census, as well as an in-depth review of the literature.
The report advised the client on the potential economic risks and potential social and economic consequences to the community. Impacts were assessed and Levin Sources provided a suite of potential mitigation strategies. As a result, the mining company was fully informed of the potential impacts and risks and was furthermore empowered with potential solutions to address the potential economic detriment to the community identified in the study.
The mining company was granted the right to mine in 2014.