Terry Garde – 2024 – Resilience, Responsibility and Risk in Artisanal Gold Mining


Each of these three words is invariably interpreted differently by the miners themselves, the accountable authorities, and thirdly, the campaigners or agencies involved, who all have a common desire for improving the situation.  

Two approaches to improvement have been observed, one for organizational behaviour and another for personal change.  

The first often starts with policies which are followed by standards, and then by measures, often by an outside party. These were witnessed on a large mine in Zimbabwe to improve its health, safety, and environmental record, becoming part of the organizational culture.    

Changing personal behaviour starts with motivation within the individual and is followed by change in behaviour. Finally, there needs to be a structural change in our environment that will allow the opportunity to realize personal transformation, otherwise it is not sustainable.  

These approaches can de-risk and help redesign responsible gold mining. Outsiders with no power to create institutional change, can still be agents of small, low risk changes, demonstrating improved health, safety and environmental practices that are sustainable without major restructuring of the miners’ environment.  

Once motivated the miners will want to be more competent in the use of methods and equipment, to own and operate appropriate technology. They also need faith in a bigger picture, beyond their hand-to-mouth existence, beyond the debilitating culture that so often surrounds them.    

Stakeholders who can change structures in the environment will help through e.g formalization, markets, finance, and enabled gender, labour and human rights.   


Dr. Terry Garde has nearly 50 years of experience in the mining sector including 20 years in mine management, from graduate learner to General Manager, overseeing production, safety, efficiency, and technical know-how as well as all facets of a mining and residential complex. 

10 years business consulting within and outside of mining, including training and education in mining competencies, health and safety auditing, management systems and strategic planning. This work overlapped with lecturing in Mining Engineering at the University of Zimbabwe.  

9 years at the helm of Maranatha Ferrochrome, then the 3rd biggest chrome mining and smelting company in Zimbabwe, during an extremely tough political and economic climate.  

3 years consulting in Afghanistan, setting up systems for governance of the mining sector, liaising directly with the Minister of Mining and Petroleum.  

7 years doctoral level research in artisanal gold mining within East Africa, and currently implementing research findings in various capacities.