Formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining in Colombia: Achievements and challenges relating to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals

  • Leonardo Güiza Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia
  • Lina Correa-Muñoz Universidad del Rosario
  • Carlos Cante Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia
Keywords: Sustainability, Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), Mining formalization, Colombia, Sustainable Development Goals


Debates on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have mostly centered on its potential to alleviate poverty. However, its role in fulfilling other SDGs has received less attention within the literature. In addition, this literature has focused on the failures of attempts to formalize ASM. In this paper, we identify seven concrete policy tools or mechanisms aimed at facilitating the process of formalizing ASM operators that have been in effect since 2014 in Colombia and assess to what extent they have contributed to fulfilling the SDGs. Our study thus diverges from the recent literature that has mainly sought to explain the failures of attempts to formalize ASM. Instead, we show how mining formalization policies have contributed to the fulfillment of SDGs other than poverty alleviation, such as sustainable economic growth; peace, justice, and strong institutions; and good health. The importance of these practical legal mechanisms lies in their contribution to the creation of social and economic conditions that support the independence and sustainability of the ASM formalization process in Colombia, without requiring the interventions of specific foreign agencies.


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