Artisanal Miner Cooperatives

The organization of registered miners into associations and cooperatives is an additional step in the formalization of the sector, consolidating the gains achieved through registration and providing miners with the recognition of local and national governments and support to develop their business.

How it works

In the context of artisanal mining, a miners’ cooperative refers to an organization of miners residing in the same region, established for their mutual benefit. Cooperatives provide advantages such as training to improve mining methods and labour conditions, bargaining power to market their products and development of alternative livelihoods.

  • DDI helps organize registered artisanal miners into associations, providing training on cooperative governance and conflict resolution, and supporting the election of a management team. Status and by-laws are adopted and elected officials accepted in a general assembly
  • Through the associations, miners receive training on project management, entrepreneurship and economics. They are guided in developing a business plan and a specific action plan
  • Alternative livelihoods are explored as a business option
  • DDI facilitates the development of a miner investment program through the associations, including benefit sharing structures and use of a bank account
  • Training is offered on improved mining methods
  • Where relevant, the Maendeleo Diamond Standard system or other development standards may be introduced, and potential sites identified to engage in the program
  • Gender and adult literacy programs may be provided in certain cooperatives
  • Associations seek legalization with provincial and local authorities, in order to become recognized cooperatives

Purpose of the program

Cooperatives provide a wide range of benefits to artisanal miners:

  • Facilitate the formalization process and provide legitimacy with the government
  • Improve the miners’ capacity to advocate for rights and benefits such as fair pricing, working conditions and land rights
  • Increase ability to organize access to new markets
  • Facilitate regular site registration and renewal of licenses
  • Reduce vulnerability of miners from middlemen
  • Increase investment options of miners
  • Increase the ability of miners to seek alternative livelihoods