The Artisanal Mining and Property Rights (AMPR) project is a Task Order under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights (STARR) II Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quality Contract (IDIQ), centrally managed by E3’s Land and Urban Office in Washington. AMPR supports the establishment of legal, responsible supply chains and strengthening peace in artisanal mining areas primarily in the Central African Republic (CAR). AMPR can also provide on-demand, short-term technical assistance to any USAID Mission or Operating Unit (OU) on development challenges associated with Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM).
Illicit mineral supply chains
- undermine human rights and the rule of law,
- degrade environment,
- hamper countries’ journeys to self-reliance, and
- are known to finance armed militias and organized criminal groups.
Conversely, legal and responsible artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) supply chains can promote peace and stability and provide an alternative livelihood for marginalized men and women. However, the ASM sector remains largely informal and rife with criminal activity and corruption. The majority of ASM diamond and gold exports flow through illegal channels, depriving governments of revenues, with diggers and miners suffering from conflict and violence.
The CAR is particularly dependent on the artisanal mining economy. However, extortion by state actors and rebel forces destabilize the countryside. The large swathes of the country controlled by armed groups and a lack of government capacity to enforce laws have hindered the resumption of legal diamond exports. Expansion of compliant zones for diamond exports and strengthening the legal trade is needed to help rebuild the country’s economy and reduce violence.
From 2007 to 2013, Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) I project assisted the government of the CAR in Lobaye, Sangha Mbaere, and Mambere Kadei provinces to improve the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) by tracing diamond sales, strengthening mechanisms to issue licenses to artisanal miners, assisting communities with livelihood diversification, and mitigating environmental damage from ASM. PRADD I closed early in 2013 due to the fall of the Bozize regime. USAID launched Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) II in CAR in 2015, focused on developing the legal diamond supply chain per the KPCS framework for CAR.
The primary objective of the project is to improve USAID programming through increased understanding of the linkages between artisanal and small-scale mining and key development issues. The project will also address complex development challenges around the ASM sector in CAR with a primary focus on diamonds and a secondary focus on gold. The goal is to promote legal, responsible supply chains and strengthen social cohesion in mining areas.
Objective I Assist the CAR government to improve compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) requirements. The KPCS aims to reduce the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments.
Objective 2 Strengthen community resilience, social cohesion, and response to violent conflict in CAR. AMPR will support the expansion of local Peace and Reconciliation Committees to monitor and resolve conflicts and conduct peace-building activities.
Objective 3 Increase awareness and understanding of the opportunities and challenges of establishing responsible gold supply chains in CAR.
Objective 4 Improve USAID programming through increased understanding of linkages between ASM and key development issues. Provide targeted technical assistance to USAID operating units and interested missions on ASM issues (e.g., background literature reviews, prepare assessments, and scoping missions).
Major Activities in CAR to Date
Research and evaluations
- Launched a rigorous and participatory diamond fraud diagnosis to identify root causes for the uptake in smuggling and identified ways to improve the enhanced monitoring mechanisms required under the Kimberley Process Operational Framework.
- Launched preparations for the field missions with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation and the Ministry of Mines to evaluate and validate the proposed extension of sites for the Peace and Reconciliation Committees and the Kimberley Process Local Monitoring Committees in the sub-prefectures of Gadzi, Carnot, Nola, and Boganangone.
- Contracts put in place with IPIS and RESOLVE to analyze the possibilities of implementing responsible supply chains for the gold sector in CAR. IPIS completed the training of the KP Focal Points, AMPR Community Mobilisers and Civil Society representatives on research methodologies, mobile data collection tools using Open Data Kit (ODK) software, participatory methodologies for mine site identification, best practices of conducting field research, and practical exercises on how to use the new generation of ‘GPS InReach’ data tracking hardware.
- Carried out a rapid artisanal gold mining assessment combined with a field visit in the Wassa Amenfi West District and the Asankrangwa Stool chieftancy of Ghana.
- Provided technical support to the Ministry of Mines and Geology to set up a technical committee chaired by the ministry and comprising donors, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to coordinate programs and projects in the mining and petroleum sectors of the CAR.
- Drafted lexicon of artisanal mining terminology in French and Sango for eventual incorporation into the Mining Code and to avoid confusions over word choices.
- Launched translation of communications and outreach videos used in Côte d’Ivoire into Sango.
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation and the Ministry of Mines and Geology, completed the evaluation of the Peace and Reconciliation committees set up under PRADD II as well as the Kimberley Process Local Monitoring Committees in the compliant zones of Berberati, Bania, Yamalé, Nandobo, Wapo, and Nassolé.
- Initiated direct engagements with the World Bank to contribute to regulatory and institutional reform efforts of the Ministry of Mines and Geology.
- Consulted with stakeholders, including representatives of women’s groups in the KP compliant zones in Carnot, to develop the project Gender Action Plan and identify economic diversification activities for women. This included a diagnostic of women’s roles in the diamond economy in three villages near Carnot.
- Launched debate on the dynamics of armed pastoralism in the diamond mining areas of the southwest of the CAR.
The project will implement its activities in close coordination with other donors, especially the World Bank and the European Union, who both have activities in the sector.
USAID AMPR implements field activities in the southwest part of the country over the Carnot Sandstone, the location of alluvial diamond deposits. While gold is mined throughout, most gold deposits are on the northwestern fringes of this geological formation.