This policy note – available in English and French – explores the complex links between artisanal gold mining and violence.
As artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso has increased in recent years, so too have violent attacks by non-state armed groups. The assumption that there is a natural causal link between the two is, however, too simplistic. According to this policy note produced by Cristiano Lanzano, senior researcher at NAI, Sabine Luning, associate professor at Leiden University and Alizèta Ouédraogo, national coordinator at the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) of Burkina Faso, the escalating violence should rather be seen as a result of long-term trends, such as state disengagement, a growing dependence on gold and the gradual privatisation of security. To curb the violence, the researchers recommend that policy makers avoid a repressive approach to artisanal mining and rethink the governance of the sector, in consultation with miners and rural communities.