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  • Responsible Raw Materials

Estelle Levin-Nally - That Touchy Subject: Artisanal and Small-scale Mining

Updated: May 31, 2020

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a contentious issue, frequently dividing stakeholders into those who defend it as an important livelihood and those who vilify it as a sectoral disgrace. ASM is particularly a challenge for industrial mines, who suffer encroachment by ASM onto their concessions or the generation of liabilities by ASM activities in nearby communities. Multiple mineral categories are affected in many jurisidictions – copper/cobalt, tin, gold, diamonds, gemstones. Poor management of ASM leads to the generation of related risks that can spiral out of control, generating human rights violations, integrity issues, and cost companies millions in lawsuits and legal settlements, damaged share prices, and halted operations.

Let me whizz you through a keyhole look at what is ASM, why and where it happens, how to make sense of it, and key trends in developing the sector. I’ll tell you about Levin Sources’ new LSM-ASM Community of Practice, which is intended to expedite and enable the adoption of good practice in ASM management by mining companies. If there’s time, I can even update you on how COVID-19 is impacting ASM markets and communities, and why focusing a humanitarian response on ASM communities should be a priority for governments and businesses in producer nations.


Estelle Levin-Nally is an impact entrepreneur and sustainability influencer with more than 20 years’ experience working in the international minerals trade. In 2010, Estelle founded Levin Sources as a catalyst to deliver sustainability through better business and good governance in the minerals sector. Estelle and her team solve complex socio-ecological problems in fragile economies, thriving markets, and global challenges, ultimately building resilience and value for businesses, communities and societies around the world and all along the value chain.

Estelle works at the frontier of minerals sustainability, advising some of the world’s most high-profile brands and most pioneering social enterprises. She is most well known for her work in artisanal and small-scale mining, responsible mining, responsible sourcing, jewellery, conservation, conflict minerals, and green economy minerals. She is regularly invited to chair, facilitate and speak at high profile events around the world and has been an expert participant in a wide variety of panels and knowledge sharing initiatives.

Estelle commits a lot of time to supporting responsible minerals initiatives on a voluntary basis. She is presently an Advisory Board member for the CRAFT Standard (Alliance for Responsible Mining); Advisory Board member for Ethical Metalsmiths serving on the Responsible Sourcing committee; the Ethical Sourcing Ambassador for the Women’s Jewellery Association, UK; and Founding Member of the Better Business Committee of the UK’s National Association of Jewellers. She previously served as Advisory Council Member of the East and Southern African Coloured Gemstones Alumni Forum for over 10 years on the Standards Committee of the Responsible Jewellery Council until May 2019, served on the Technical Advisory Group for Fairtrade Gold (2015-2017), was a founder member of the British Ethical Jewellers Association (2007-2009), and was founding Co-Chair of the Ethical Diamonds Group of the Madison Dialogue (2007), which evolved into the Mandaeleo Diamonds Standards of the Diamond Development Initiative.

Estelle was named #48 Top 100 Modern Slavery Influencers 2018; #15 Top 100 Conflict Minerals Influencers 2017 and #52 in 2016. Estelle works in English, French, and Spanish. She is usually based at Levin Sources, Cambridge, UK but is presently locked down in Guernsey.

Founder & CEO • Levin Sources

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