Optimising resource utilisation in artisanal stone quarrying: the development and dissemination of appropriate and sustainable extraction and processing technologies. (ADD025).

Abstract

This paper is one in a series of papers that have been produced following a DFID funded ITDG project that examined the case of small-scale artisanal quarrying in the Nairobi region of Kenya. This research has shown that small-scale artisanal quarrying in Kenya suffers from low productivity resulting in a vulnerable lifestyle for quarry owners' and workers alike. Productivity levels appear to have remained constant or even deteriorated since a 1945 study of the industry. Running concurrently is the increasing concern over the damage that small-scale quarrying is having on the environment. This paper concentrates on one aspect of small-scale artisanal stone production; that of the tools and techniques employed to extract the stone. These tools and techniques contribute significantly to current levels of productivity and to the present level of environmental degradation currently perpetrated by these quarries. The link between quarrying techniques and the environment is especially significant as processes that recover only small percentages of the available stone are currently wasting national stone reserves. The paper analyses how, by changing tools and techniques, levels of productivity may be increased and the amount of environmental degradation reduced.

The main study of this paper is the small-scale artisanal quarrying sector near Nairobi, Kenya. The paper, where appropriate, analyses another study of a similar mining area in Goa, India. It teases out the parallels and highlights the variations with situation there. The analysis also draws on some innovative technology used in a stone quarry in Rajasthan, India. As its introduction, the paper begins by examining the various factors that influence the tools and techniques used in small-scale stone quarrying. It then describes the tools and techniques currently used in the Kenyan and Indian quarrying process. The principle shortcomings of these are then addressed. The paper then proposes a number of technical changes that could improve productivity within the quarrying process. These are evaluated for their impact on productivity, jobs, the environment and for their initial cost outlay. The next section evaluates these proposed tools and techniques for their likely uptake. In particular, the social, economic and technical constraints to their uptake are examined. The final section of the paper draws out the most promising changes and considers how these proposals may be implemented.

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Citation

Optimising resource utilisation in artisanal stone quarrying: the development and dissemination of appropriate and sustainable extraction and processing technologies. (ADD025).

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