Victoire Girard (Nova SBE)

Tuesday, March 26th 2024

Victoire Girard (Nova SBE) will present “ Artisanal mining in Africa: Green for gold? ”, joint with Teresa Molina-Millán (University of Alicante,IZA and NOVAFRICA) and Guillaume Vic (BRGM).



The livelihoods of 130 to 270 million people depend on artisanal mining, a labor-intensive and often informal extractive activity. We levy research in geology, and two sources of exogenous time variation, to build the first proxy of artisanal gold mining in Africa -- the main form of artisanal mining. We first document the impact of a change in the potential value of artisanal mining. We establish that the historical increase in the gold price accounts for 8% of deforestation continent-wide, 28% in gold areas. In parallel, artisanal gold mining increases local economic wealth, but these economic impacts are of smaller magnitude. Second, we turn to weather shocks. Artisanal mining may provide an alternative livelihood when a weather shock jeopardizes agricultural output. We confirm the heterogeneous effects of adverse weather : compared to the average area, deforestation is magnified in gold-suitable areas, while losses in night-light emissions are compensated for. The primary driver of deforestation appears to be the mining activity itself, while mining-induced changes in human settlements or local demand have limited impacts.

Modification date: 21 March 2024 | Publication date: 21 March 2024 | By: Régis Grateau