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Top 10 ASM Countries by Number of People Working in ASM

Region Country # Working in ASM
South Asia India 15,000,000
East Asia & Pacific China 9,000,000
East Asia & Pacific Indonesia 3,600,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Democratic Republic of Congo 2,000,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Ethiopia 1,260,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Ghana 1,100,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Burkina Faso 1,000,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Zimbabwe 1,000,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Sudan 1,000,000
Sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania 1,000,000

Global ASM Employment

Estimates of the number of individuals engaged in ASM worldwide began in 1993 with the United Nations and has been revised by numerous global studies that demonstrate the incredible growth of the sector as an alternative livelihood option for millions globally. In addition some studies have estimated the number of people dependent on ASM activity: 80-100 million people in 1999 (ILO 1999), 60-150 million people in 2013 (IIED 2013)

Data Source: United Nations 1993, ILO 1999, European Commission 2012, IIED 2013, IGF 2018

Global Production Weight (KG) of Minerals from ASM

Data Source:

Distribution of Unique Data Sources

Distribution of unique data sources by publication year in the Delve database. This graph counts the number of unique data sources within the Delve database that provide unique quantitative data on employment for the ASM sector per publication year. The increase in data sources produced from 2001-2004 can be attributed to the initiation of the "Communities and Small-scale Mining" (CASM) initiative as well as the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project (MMSD) funded by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and implemented by International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).


The data presented in this Version 1 of the Delve platform are from secondary sources and reflect data availability on the ASM sector. All data, countries and minerals are not yet represented. Data will be added on an ongoing basis as the global data gap on ASM continues to be filled. Visualizations created with under a Creative Commons (CC) Attribution-NonCommercial license.

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