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Identifying and clarifying environmental policy best practices for the mining industry–A systematic review

Gold mining has for several decades contributed to the socio-economic development of many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but it has also caused considerable environmental damage and human health concerns in mining communities. However, despite the extensive proliferation of policies and programs aimed at addressing the adverse environmental impact of mining, limited attention has so far been paid to identifying what might constitute environmental policy best practices across Sub-Saharan Africa’s gold mining sector. To address this gap, this paper undertakes a systematic literature review of environmental policy measures and considers its broader implications for sustainable development in the context of gold mining in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 1,217 papers retrieved from the databases, 22 met the inclusion criteria and are included in evidence synthesis. Based on an in-depth analysis, we find that there are tensions and consensus in the environmental policy literature. However, extant works remain fragmented, uneven, and not systematically integrated. This perhaps might explain the difficulty in trying to develop and institutionalize best practices within the gold mining industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, we propose an integrated conceptual model that lays a foundation for possible environmental policy best practices within the mining industry in developing countries. The paper concludes by identifying specific theoretical and practical implications of the study and suggests possible avenues for future research.

Source: Journal of Cleaner Production 

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