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Artisanal Exploitation of Mineral Resources: Remote Sensing Observations of Environmental Consequences, Social and Ethical Aspects

Abstract : Since the rise of the gold price in 2000, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is a growing economic activity in developing countries. It represents a source of income for several millions of people in West Africa. Exploitation techniques have evolved from traditional gold panning to mechanization and use of chemical products that are harmful for the environment. Government strategies to control and regulate this activity are impeded by the difficulties to collect spatial information, due to the remote location and the mobile and informal natural of ASGM. Here we present and discuss the value of remote sensing techniques to complement the knowledge on artisanal mining impacts, including for detection of illegal sites, the evaluation of the degradation of soils and waters, the deforestation and the monitoring of expansion of ASGM with time. However, these techniques are blind regarding gender issues, labor relations, mobility, migration, and insecurity and need to be considered with knowledges from other disciplines. Remote sensing is also instilled with various powers accruing to those enabled to produce and interpret these data. Remote sensing should be therefore used in a reflexive manner that accounts for the social, ethical and political implications of ASGM governance informed by space observations.
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Submitted on : Saturday, November 19, 2022 - 12:57:50 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, November 20, 2022 - 3:52:03 AM

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Ndeye Marame Ngom, David Baratoux, Matthieu Bolay, Anna Dessertine, Abdoulatif Abass Saley, et al.. Artisanal Exploitation of Mineral Resources: Remote Sensing Observations of Environmental Consequences, Social and Ethical Aspects. Surveys in Geophysics, 2022, ⟨10.1007/s10712-022-09740-1⟩. ⟨insu-03861043⟩

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