Miners’ earnings

A very simple question: how much do artisanal miners earn? Sara Geenen, Nik Stoop and Marijke Verpoorten investigated this in the article “How much do artisanal miners earn“. The authors developed a sampling method and survey tools suited for systematic data collection and applied it to a stratified random sample of 453 miners in the largest mining town in Congo’s South Kivu province. Their research design allows them to study how much artisanal gold miners earn, and what determines their earnings. In doing so, they assess the financial attractiveness of artisanal mining, and uncover whether earnings from artisanal mining are merit-based, i.e. determined by experience, expertise and risk-taking behavior, or identity-based. This allows them to test the claim that artisanal mining has a social-levelling effect.

Ben Radley researched wages and expenditures in artisanal and industrial gold mining. Here is the abstract of his article Distributional Analysis of Mining Wages: Across low–income African countries, a process of foreign–controlled mining (re)industrialisation has been underway since the 1980s, gathering pace during the most recent decade. This paper aims to shed light on the long–term effects of this process on the strength and vibrancy of local mining economies. It does so through the analysis of original empirical data collected during 15 months of fieldwork at and around an industrial gold mine in South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, centred on how the entry of industrial mining into pre-existing artisanal mining economies has affected the total volume of mining wages earned, consumed and invested locally. It is demonstrated that, despite generating a 25–fold increase in productivity, mining reindustrialisation in South Kivu has not resulted in significant wage growth for most industrial workers, compared to the wages earned in artisanal mining.