Across the globe the mining industry has experienced massive growth since the beginning of the 20th century. While large-scale mines cause much social and environmental harm, it is believed that small-scale and artisanal mines pose an even greater threat. Small-scale mining is a largely illegal and unregulated operation that consists of small enterprises initiating mining projects in developing countries. This guide outlines some of the major issue areas connected to mining, provides some basic tips on how to apply for grants, presents 15 foundations that fund mining-related causes, and offers a list of networks and additional resources.
Many toxic chemicals are used in mining processes, and in small-scale and artisanal mines there is little done to minimize the impact they may have on workers and members of surrounding communities. Mercury, lead, and cyanide are frequently used and can cause respiratory illnesses like silicosis, rashes, chemical poisoning, and birth and developmental defects. Additionally, mining sites are associated with
increased risk for the spread of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. Because of unsafe work conditions, miners are often at risk for sustaining injuries, infection, and death as a result of accidents.
Peace and Conflict Resolution
Conflict minerals are resources that are extracted in conflict zones and are used to finance rebel groups and prolong fighting. Areas affected by mining for this purpose, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, face many issues including armed confrontation, growth of illegal weapon markets, sexual violence and exploitation, child labor, slavery, and problems associated with drugs and alcohol.
Human and Labor Rights
Conditions in small-scale and artisanal mines do not usually follow government regulations for health and safety, leaving workers unprotected and vulnerable to occupational hazards. People living in surrounding areas are also negatively impacted and face many threats to their safety and livelihood. Moreover, many countries have significant populations of children working in mines. It is estimated that over 1 million children worldwide are employed in mining. These children have little to no access to education, are exposed to dangerous labor conditions, and are at high risk for suffering developmental damage.
Many small-scale and artisanal mines are established on lands that neighbor or belong to indigenous peoples. These sites violate the land ownership rights of local communities, exclude them from decision-making, and pose risks to the dwellers’ health, commutes, and safety. The degradation of the local environment also disrupts cultural events and sacred land. Some areas that are especially affected by these issues include Papua New Guinea and the Karamoja region in Uganda.
The mining industry has a devastating impact on the environment. Chemicals used to extract resources poison soil and water, thus destroying animal habitats, decreasing biodiversity, and contaminating food and water sources belonging to nearby communities. Poaching of large mammals that live close to small-scale and artisanal mines, such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants is also an issue. Mining sites can cause mudslides, sinkholes, erosion, and destruction of watersheds. The release of greenhouse gases is also a major concern.
While mining provides employment opportunities and prosperity to mining enterprises, it also contributes to the eradication of other industries and promotes illegal trade that is not beneficial to local communities or governments. For instance, waters poisoned by chemical waste kill fish and create obstructions for fishermen. Human exploitation and weapon and drug sales may also increase in areas that neighbor mining sites. Furthermore, child and forced labor that is commonplace in small-scale and artisanal mines greatly limits educational opportunities.
According to the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), women make-up between one- and two-thirds of the artisanal and small-scale mining labor force. Very few women occupy high
positions in mining enterprises, leaving many of them to take up extra work as cooks or prostitutes near mining sites to increase income. Sexual violence and exploitation are prevalent around these areas, which in turn heightens risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
How NGOs Can Help
NGOs hold a major stake in small-scale and artisanal mining and have the potential to change the way mines operate, diminish the consequences of mining, and create livelihood alternatives for all those involved. Below is a list of 15 foundations that fund projects that mitigate the devastation caused by small-scale and artisanal mines.
How Do I Use this Information?
- To start, conduct research on the foundation: find out if they are active in your region, whether they fund the specific cause your NGO is involved with, and what projects they have funded in the past.
- Make sure the donor organization exercises values that align with those of your NGO, as under some circumstances accepting funding may entail certain risks. Click here for more information on gift acceptance policies.
- Network with the donor over the phone or in person to learn more about their priorities and criteria for grant applications.
- If the organization is interested in what you do and requests an application, develop a letter of inquiry, concept note, or brief proposal as per their instructions.
Top 15 Donors for Mining
NGOs Working in the Field & Their Partners
An organization that addresses the challenges presented by artisanal diamond mining across Africa and works directly with artisanal miners to reduce violence and improve their quality of life.
African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA), Communities and Small-Scale Mining (CASM), Department for International Development – United Kingdom, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Government of Belgium, Government of Sweden, USAID: PRAAD Project.
A non-governmental, not-for-profit organization registered in England that performs research and manages campaigns to increase awareness of the injustices caused by the oil, mining, and timber industries.
Adessium Foundation, The Ajahma Charitable Trust, The Alexander Soros Foundation, Allard Prize for International Integrity, Arcus Foundation, Center for International Policy, David and Anita Keller Foundation, The David and Elaine Potter Foundation, The Democratic Governance Facility, Fidelity Charitable Gift Program, Ford Foundation, Foundation to Promote an Open Society, UK Department for International Development (FGMC Programme), Governance and Transparency Fund (Department for International Development), Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Humanity United, Irish Aid, JMG Foundation, Jocarno Fund, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Longview Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Oak Foundation, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, The Skoll Foundation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), The Roddick Foundation, TED Prize, Wallace Global Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Zennström Philanthropies
A Peruvian not-for-profit that conducts research and promotes change in the hope of making artisanal mining a more socially and environmentally responsible industry and improving the livelihoods of mining communities.
Alliance for Responsible Mining, Solidaridad, Care Peru, ProDiálogo, Asociasión Civil Labor, Better Gold Initiative, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, European Union, Fondo Multilateral de Inversión, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, El Grupo de Diálogo de Minería y Desarrollo Sostenible, Belgian Technical Cooperation
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