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The Bench Mining Method as Future of Artisanal Mining and Community Development in Southern Africa: South Africa and DR Congo


  • Evariste Umba-Tsumbu 4IR Yako Consulting


South Africa and DR Congo are both considered as members of Southern African Development Community. And Zama Zama is a Zulu expression of artisanal miners in South Africa which means “those who keep on trying” and Mchimbaji is a Swahili expression of artisanal miners in DR Congo which means “diggers”. Artisanal mining is   a cultural heritage and significant contributor in mineral production in both countries of tantalum, gold, cassiterite, chrome, diamonds and other precious minerals. The artisanal miners are organised in Cooperatives or sometimes operate illegally with manually intensive work or indigenous practices by using hammers, shovels, pick-axes, sack, chisels, head-torch, welding-gloves for prospectus and excavation and processing minerals with a magnet to remove impurities in case of DR Congo and towers, buckets, heat and mercury in case of gold-process in South Africa. The practice is often due to abandoned mines shaft associated with environment’s degradation, retrenchment from large-scale mining companies, alternative livelihoods & economic empowerment, smuggling, effort to regain land with its resources, but unfortunately causing insecurity and death associated with roof falling, gangs activities in South Africa and rebellions in DR Congo. Hence, the application of Bench Mining or Open pit machine such as Dozer and tractor-trailer with mining PPE for mining layers as applied in Rwanda and Burundi is becoming crucial in the sector to reduce death associated with roof falling, structure the operation, purchase abandoned mines, facilitate registration for mining permit, boost the production, increase safety measures, rehabilitate sites and attract more sponsors.


Bench Mining Method, Artisanal Mining, Cooperative


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