Strategies for stimulating socio-economic growth from small-scale mining operations in Qwaqwa (South Africa).
The socio-economic importance of small-scale mining in a developing country such as South Africa cannot be overstated. Millions of rural people trapped in abject poverty and disappointingly high unemployment, where the availability and accessibility to natural resources like sandstone is at their doorstep should never be allowed to remain poor and starve if job creation and poverty alleviation take precedence in both local and national agendas. It is against this backdrop that this pilot case study was initiated, the primary objective of which was to recommend tailor-made strategies for developing and stimulating socio-economic growth from small-scale mining operations in Qwaqwa. In order to do this a literature review was conducted, strategically aiming at establishing what was already known and in place on the subject through prior research. The process that ensued entailed designing a systematic blue print on the process of collecting, analysing and interpreting data about small-scale mining in the area. The study used multiple sources of evidence in the form of statistical analysis of the questionnaires, personal interviews, site observations and various documents to indeed confirm the indispensable nature of small-scale mining in the socio-economic fibre of rural communities. In order to stimulate socio-economic growth from small-scale mining, the formation of cooperatives for structured and coordinated assistance, favourable and encouraging regulations and policies, innovation, communication and publicity, product and market development strategies as well as the adoption and nurturing of small-scale mines by big conglomerates are some of the strategies postulated.