• artisanal and small-scale mining;
  • corporate social responsibility;
  • South Africa;
  • development

Artisanal, or small-scale mining, is widely recognised as a key, but often controversial, survival strategy adopted by low-income communities in the global South. This paper examines how members of one community in South Africa, that of Indwe, in a desperate effort to create self-employment, have initiated micro-level coal-mining enterprises, which have had the downstream effect of supporting local transportation and brick-making operations. Government concerns over the legality of these activities overlie the recent depletion of the local resource and the involvement of a mining corporate in the region. In terms of the way forward, the paper explores the uneasy compromise which has emerged between the corporate's social responsibility initiatives and the suspicions of the artisanal miners.