2012 Chayes Fellow Megumi Tsutsui (JD ’14), working with the Legal Resources Centre, South Africa

Lion's Head, Cape Town

“I’ve been working on a research report to explain general legal liability implications incurred from accidents resulting in deaths or injuries to “illegal” diggers at mines. Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) conducted by individuals and small organized groups occurs nearly everywhere in the world alongside large-scale mining (LSM). However, in the case of South Africa (and nearly everywhere else in the world), these miners are given little to no legal protections and rights, though they have been historically disadvantaged and negatively impacted by generous government concessions given to large-scale mining. Thus, these artisanal miners are often deemed to be “illegal,” even though their activities may be well-known and condoned by the owners of the mines.

 My report delves into two issues. First, it analyzes current South African law that governs liability of corporations and government in the case of artisanal miners suffering an accident while mining. Second, my report summarizes international best practices to regulate the ASM sector and offers recommendations for reforming policy and law in South Africa pertaining to artisanal mining. I am also helping to organize a workshop to present my paper in a mining town where artisanal miners were recently killed in an accident. Invitees include representatives from mining associations, NGOs, and relevant government departments. The workshop will explore how reform can be achieved in the specific context of the mining community.

 Aside from the very fascinating development work, I have also been able to take advantage of living in the beautiful city of Cape Town. Above is a picture of Lion’s Head, which I took on my hike up Table Mountain.”