ASGM stakeholders learn to use OECD due diligence guidelines through the STAG adapted version of the CRAFT Code

ASGM stakeholders learn to use OECD due diligence guidelines through the STAG adapted version of the CRAFT Code
Mar 30, 2024

Now in its second year of implementation, the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals-funded Scalable Trade in Artisanal Gold project (the STAG project) has begun conducting workshops related to the OECD’s due diligence guidance and the STAG version of the CRAFT code which operationalizes the guidance, in the southwest region of Burkina Faso. STAG is executed by the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) in partnership with RESOLVE and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI).

The STAG project aims to create a replicable regional supply system for increased trade in responsible artisanal gold to benefit the thousands of artisanal gold miners involved in the Burkinabe artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. This is making miners’ supply chains more resilient and equitable, and making a responsible product choice for consumers by facilitating access to responsible production and supply systems at volumes large enough to reach markets broadly.

STAG is achieving these objectives by implementing activities related to five thematic areas:

  1. connecting artisanal miners to safe and legal international gold buying markets
  2. designing and implementing a custom due diligence formalization and verification system
  3. establishing an economically viable gold supply chain business model with a traceability system
  4. improving the capacity of auditors to understand and manage due diligence requirements for audits;
  5. creating a network to expand on the formal supply chains created by STAG.

To assist with the project’s main outcomes, the STAG team held an awareness-raising workshop that covered the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Supply Chains as well as the CRAFT tool which operationalizes the OECD system in November 2021. By increasing awareness of international gold marketing standards and expectations, this workshop aimed to engage artisanal miners in targeted communities in the southwest region. The workshop introduced a process of improving practices and formalizing mining and trading activities through the promotion of gender equality, the progressive elimination of child labor and human rights abuses, health, environmental best practices, and governance. The workshop also sought to further encourage the participants to organize themselves in a more sustainable and profitable way as formal legal participants (formalization). One benefit of formalization is that it provides increased access to international markets, and one of the ways to achieve a formal status is through the application of due diligence mechanisms like the OECD-based STAG-CRAFT scheme. Â

The STAG-CRAFT scheme developed by the project has been adapted from the RESOLVE-ARM developed CRAFT Code. The STAG-CRAFT scheme focuses on Burkina Faso’s unique ASGM sector and regional context to help engage and support miners and their communities in the process of legal formalization and to access legal gold markets. More specifically, it addresses the reputational challenges of responsible supply chains through the identification, assessment, mitigation, and control of risks in ASGM activities. This helps actors along the supply chain to monitor and reduce risks in ASGM, and promote the sustainable economic development of the sector. The potential to increase public revenues is another incentive for the government actors to support these efforts.

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Eve Sanou and workshop participants. | AGC 2022[/caption]

To generate buy-in and increase awareness of the advantages to adhere to due diligence mechanisms and to the STAG project’s requirements for gold commercialization, a diverse group of 35 participants was invited to attend the workshop. At the local government level, there were 13 participants: the High Commissioner of Ioba, the Mayor of Dano, the Prefect of Dano, the representative of ANEEMAS, Dano (Agence Nationale de l’Encadrement de l’Exploitation Minière Artisanale et Semi-mechanisée), the representative of ANEEMAS Diébougou, the regional representative of Social Action, the regional representative of National Education/ DPEPPNF (Provincial Authorities for preschool, primary school and non formal schooling), the Police and Gendarmerie of Dano, and a representative from AFEMIB (Association des Femmes Minières Burkinabe). In addition to local government stakeholders, 23 men (20) and women (3) miners from operations in Semoro, Wan, Gnikpière, Gnimi, and Diarkadougou also attended.Â

The workshop began with a presentation from the National Project Coordinator, Dr. Alizèta Ouédraogo which focused on a brief overview of the AGC in Burkina Faso and its various projects in the country, in addition to the STAG project. Dr. Ouédraogo’s presentation was followed by a talk by Compliance Officer Eve Sanou. Ms. Sanou focused on the concepts of due diligence, the OECD guidelines, the STAG-CRAFT scheme, and its different modules. An interactive group work session was then held in which participants were able to openly discuss due diligence mechanisms, their challenges and opportunities, and how formalization can directly benefit both local authorities and artisanal mining operations.Â

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Workshop participants learn about the STAG-CRAFT tool. | AGC 2022[/caption]

As the sessions progressed, participants became familiar with the dynamics and general trend of the ASGM sector to move toward responsible and internationally recognized standards through the due diligence standards of the OECD Guidelines and the Burkina Faso  STAG-CRAFT tool.

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Workshop participants in a group session on the STAG-CRAFT tool. | AGC 2022[/caption]

At the end of the group work session, the participants stated that their capacity in regard to internationally recognized due diligence mechanisms had been greatly enhanced. Kam Sié Dominique, a site manager from Diarkadougou shared what he would be taking away from the workshop:

"The STAG-CRAFT code allows for familiarity with the adoption and general trend of the ASGM sector to move towards responsible standards, the implementation of due diligence mechanisms, and the application of the OECD guide. In addition, the objectives of the STAG project allow artisanal miners to see the opportunity, not only to be formalized but also to sell their gold on legal international markets and to work in full transparency from now on.”

At the conclusion of the workshop, a short survey was administered to assess the participants' level of interest in learning more about due diligence, as well as to determine if the primary points of the workshop had been understood. The participants were very enthusiastic about what they had learned and provided recommendations to hold further trainings to enhance both local government and artisanal miners' knowledge of the STAG project and its due diligence knowledge and tools.

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Savadogo Fatimata receives her certificate of participation in the workshop from Eve Sanou | AGC 2022[/caption]

Savadogo Fatimata, the leader of the women's mineral processing shed operators from the Diarkadougou site was inspired by the workshop.

"We thank the STAG team for giving us the opportunity to learn about the STAG-CRAFT tool and due diligence. It will improve a lot of things on our sites."

One of the major takeaways that the STAG team recommended at the end of the workshop was that the artisanal miners work toward formalizing themselves through the establishment of associations and cooperatives within the various mining communities present. This will facilitate their direct access to formal international markets, through the sale of their gold under better conditions, their access to technical expertise through capacity building, and their access to finance through better living conditions. Artisanal miners, as much as they saw the need for it, expressed their need for assistance in navigating these processes through the STAG project. Formalization is the next step for these men and women miners.Â

In closing remarks at the workshop, the Diarkadougou site manager and STAG champion, Kam Sié Dominique, spoke on behalf of the artisanal miners to express his gratitude to the AGC and the STAG team for strengthening their capacity through the workshop. The Diarkadougou site manager also promised that he would relay the important lessons learned at the workshop to the miners on his site.Â

"We were honored to have participated in this workshop. For our part, we learned a lot from you, and we greatly appreciate the objective of the STAG project which will allow the artisanal miners and the various mining communities that will cover this project to have better living conditions by formalizing themselves and joining the formal STAG supply chains. We remain available to accompany the project for its successful implementation and will share our experiences with the rest of the community as soon as we return to the site. Good luck to STAG and welcome back to your respective families."

Now, the STAG team will assist these men and women miners in the formalization process, and provide them with the capacities they need to scale up their legal gold trade in Burkina Faso.