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Hi George,

I'm by no means an expert in this field by PRADD, or "Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development", is an initiative supported by USAID that seeks to convert artisanal miners' customary property rights (or traditional / informal rights) into statutory rights (or real legal property rights).  The theory is that if miners and communities have real ownership rights over the land, not only can development of the resources be better monitored by the government but also it allows communities to start thinking about sustainable land planning.

The following link contains a ~20min video that has a very good summary of some issues facing artisanal miners and the various facets of PRADD:  http://rmportal.net/news/news-usaid-nrmd-video-spotlight/diamonds-development-and-property-rights.

Thanks George.  

Your post raises an interesting question which I have never heard a satisfactory answer to: Do artisanal miners benefit from increases in commodity prices?  

As you've highlighted, it seems that an increase in commodity prices attracts more miners (local and foreign) and that (possibly) instead of benefiting from higher prices, the miners need to split mineral wealth among more people. (So income per person may remain constant or even go down!)  This, together with the other negative impacts of a price boom (societal tensions, organised crime and the possible spread of HIV/AIDS) may actually make artisanal miners worse off.  

The result could possibly be categorized as a 'neo-Malthusian' trap and a micro-level resource curse. One possible solution to this could be to legitimise property rights as per the PRADD initiative.  I'm sure there are other solutions out there too and we just need to keep looking.

Thanks George. Another important set of players are the mining companies, whose involvement alongside CSOs and governments can help tackle some of the issues you refer to, while improving the conditions of their own operations.