Estimations from own field work (2008-2016) appear to be the most recent data: → 80,000.
Min/max: +/-10% apprears reasonable, i.e. +/- 10,000.
Female participation is most likely to be none: 0
Gold: 5,000 according to 2016 estimation

2021: 50,000

(AFG-2021a): “In 2012, the Afghan government estimated that 50,000 people were engaged directly in ASM and 450,000 were indirectly dependent on the ASM sector (Hart Group 2016).”
See also: Delve Country Profile Afghanistan

2018: 80,000

(ARM-18), Table Annex 3: 80,000
(IGF-18), Data in Annex: 80,000

2016: 80,000

Estimation from in-country work by Felix Hruschka, 2008-2016: 80,000
First published at

15,000 Gemstone (Emerald, Lapis) / Source: own estimation from GEM-ASM project
25,000 Semi-precious stones in Nangarhar province (Jalalabad) / Source: credible personal communications
5,000 Gold / Source: own estimation from GEM-ASM project
10,000 Coal / Source: own estimation from NCE project
20,000 Marbel & construction materials / Source: own estimation from GEM-ASM project
5,000 Other commodities (e.g. Chrome, etc.) / Source: own estimation from CBAGS project

ReferenceYearCitationArchived CopyLink
AFG-2021a2021DeWitt, J.D., Sunder, S., and Boston, K.M., 2021, Afghanistan artisanal and Small- scale mining sector, Delve Country Profile, World Bank Extractives Global Programmatic Support Multi- Donor Trust Fund, Pact, in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C., 52…
ARM-182018Barreto, M.L.,Schein, P., Hinton, J., Hruschka, F. (2018): The Impact of Small-Scale Mining Operations on Economies and Livelihoods in Low- to Middle-Income Countries. ARM, Envigado, PACT,…
IGF-182018IGF (2018): Global Trends in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues. IIED/IISD, London,…
ASM DATA - Country Database Record
Country CodeAFG
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2016
Publ. year2018
ASM Miners80,000
- gold5 ,000
Data curation as reported
Inc. DevMinsome
- min.70,000
- max.90,000
- female0
ASM Commoditiesgemstone, lapis lazuli, emerald, ruby, marbel, gold, coal, chromite
  • country/afghanistan.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/10/27
  • by Felix Hruschka