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Evidence Based Research


This report presents findings of research conducted to inform the development of a strategic framework for regularising 
informal artisanal mining (AM) in South Africa. The research was commissioned by Open Society Foundation for South 
Africa and implemented by the University of the Witwatersrand and ActionAid South Africa. 
Background and objectives
The research was initiated following recommendations on the need for an evidence-base for the AM sector in South 
Africa, to inform political and public discourses and allow for proper engagements between the stakeholders on the 
future of the AM sector. In particular, the objectives of the research were: 
• To understand the nature, size, share and scope of informal AM activities in South Africa through baseline surveys;
• To unpack institutional frameworks governing informal AM activities in South Africa including those that deem 
artisanal mining to be a criminal activity;
• To assess the impact of artisanal mining on the miners themselves, their families as well as those who are 
dependent and/or affected by these activities;
• To obtain insights into the broad issues pertaining to AM and views on how the sector can be supported and managed 
in South Africa; and
• To develop a strategic framework to support the regularisation of informal AM in South Africa considering groundlevel issues as well as strategic considerations.
Scope of work and methodology
The research comprised of two main components, namely: baseline surveys and workshop participatory appraisal. The 
objective of the baseline surveys was to collect data to build the profile of the AM sector. The surveys were conducted 
in three AM sites in Gauteng and Northern Cape province. A total of 1179 surveys were conducted with the miners. The 
participatory appraisal took the form of a workshop which was conducted on the 3rd and 4th September 2019. The 
main objectives of the workshop were to obtain insights into the challenges facing the AM sector and discuss possible 
solutions for consideration in the strategic framework for the sector. The workshop was attended by a total of 75