April 29, 2021

ASM - A Photographic Story

Alan Martin, Head of Responsible Sourcing, LBMA; Hugh Brown, Documentary Photographer.

In this week’s webinar, Alan Martin, Head of Responsible Sourcing at LBMA, and Australian documentary photographer, Hugh Brown, took an in-depth look at the world of artisanal small-scale mining (ASM), drawing from Hugh's powerful photographs on the ground.

Hugh explained how his photography affords him a neutral perspective on the complex issue of ASM, and an appreciation of how nuanced the sector is between communities, counties, countries and continents. “Ownership structures and participants vary – and there’s no rule book. Artisanal mines are incredible hubs of activity often providing a thriving microeconomy.”

So how, Alan asked, has the increasing legislation around sustainable sourcing impacted communities operating within such a complex sector?

“Since Dodd-Frank 11 years ago there’s been lots of legislative change, including billions of dollars poured into the sector supporting certification and traceability, but I question how these changes are impacting the lives of those artisanal miners. I’m all for improving conditions, but we also should not be disenfranchising these workers or their communities.”