This paper takes a land tenure lens to policy on formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), focusing on the case study of diamonds in Côte d’Ivoire. The central argument is as follows: in rural contexts where customary land tenure is strong, managing conflict and fostering cooperation between the state and customary land owners is an essential precondition and also an effective strategy for ASM formalization. The paper draws upon fieldwork and observations from the Property Rights & Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD II) project co-financed by USAID and the EU implemented in Côte d’Ivoire between 2013 and 2018. The experiences are of great practical relevance to ASM practitioners elsewhere, as paying explicit attention to property rights arrangements has demonstrably created positive good governance and local development results rarely observed in other ASM contexts.
Key Words: artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), Côte d’Ivoire, customary land rights, formalization.