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Nigeria’s mining sector is diverse in mineral resources including high value commodities. ASM accounts for over 90% of solid minerals mining in the country and is a vital livelihood for thousands of people across Nigeria (GUES 2011, 11). Estimates of direct employment provided by the sector vary from 400,000 (AMDC 2017; Oramah et al. 2015) to 500,000 people (Azubike 2009; Government of Nigeria 2009; Pulse 2019) with most individuals driven to the sector because of lack of alternative employment opportunities. ASM activity occurs in multiple regions across the country with varying compositions of mining populations (e.g., traditional livelihood for indigenous communities, migrant populations from neighboring countries, seasonal mining participation by farmers) and minerals (e.g., gold, cassiterite, coltan, gemstones). Read more in the Nigeria Country Profile.


Number of People
Working in ASM

Embed from Getty Images
Ayuba Ahmad Muhammed, secretary of the Zamfara State Gold Buyers and Sellers, displays a mined mineral in Gusau, Nigeria
Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP /Getty Images

The artisanal and small-scale mining sector provides an essential livelihood to thousands of people across Nigeria. ASM activity is widespread across the country to varying extents. Currently, there does not exist a reliable source for information on the total number of individuals involved in the ASM sector in Nigeria. Historical resources exist that estimate the sector directly employs around 400,000 (AMDC 2017; Oramah et al. 2015) to 500,000 people (Azubike 2009; Government of Nigeria 2009; Pulse 2019). Individuals are largely driven to the ASM sector due to unemployment or a lack of alternative employment opportunities. Poverty is also a push factor for individuals to join the sector with the allure of potential earnings which would exceed the national average. Miners typically have sponsors who financially support their operations and implement purchase agreements to obtain the minerals mined for trade and export (Idris-Nda et al. 2018).

Read more in the Nigeria Country Profile.


Data Source:


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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