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November 2nd 2021

COLLEGIUM RAMAZZINI STATEMENT: REDUCING DISEASE AND DEATH FROM ARTISANAL SMALL-SCALE MINING (ASM)

Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM) is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. The World Bank estimates that 100 million children, women and men work in ASM worldwide, mostly in remote rural areas of Low-income and Lower-middle-income countries. These miners often work under extreme conditions, the communities where they and their families live are heavily polluted, and ASM is responsible for high, but preventable rates of disease, injury, and premature death. 

The Collegium Ramazzini Statement REDUCING DISEASE AND DEATH FROM ARTISANAL SMALL-SCALE MINING (ASM) describes the urgent need for responsible mining in the context of growing global demand for minerals and metals for climate change mitigation


ASM is increasing rapidly. Paradoxically, a key driver of this growth is climate change mitigation.

Climate change mitigation drives ASM because ASM is a major source of minerals and metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, platinum, cadmium, molybdenum, neodymium, and indium that are critical for the production of solar cells, wind turbines, high-efficiency storage batteries, and electric vehicles that are essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy. The World Bank projects that renewable energy systems will require significantly more minerals and metals than current fossil-fuel-based energy supply systems and that global demand for minerals and metals will continue to increase for many decades.

The goals of this statement, which the Collegium Ramazzini issues during the United Nations COP 26 meeting on Climate Change are to:

·       Provide updated information on the neglected health hazards of ASM and on strategies for mitigation of these hazards in the context of rapidly growing global demand for minerals and metals to meet the urgent need for climate change mitigation;

·       Raise awareness of ASM hazards among policy-makers and the public; and

·       Call for urgent interventions against the grave dangers of ASM by international organizations, governments, employers, and minerals and metals purchasers.

The Collegium Ramazzini notes the gross injustice of ASM. While most ASM takes place in the Global South, in the same countries already suffering the most serious consequences of climate change, most who benefit from ASM are in the Global North and thus have a shared responsibility to encourage their governments to contribute to reducing ASM hazards.

We cannot achieve climate change mitigation through the use of   “blood minerals”.

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