Congo DRC

Estimation of 2,000,000 from CASM-07, republished by IIED-13 and ARM-18, appear still most coherent with current hearsay.
Min/max: 2,910,000 from UBC-14 appear somewhat exagerated. A range of +500,000/-200,000 seems reasonable, given the intransparent situation of ASM in the DRC.
Female participation: Best guess is 30%, i.e. 600,000.
Gold: After Dood-Frank 1502, many 3T-miner shifted to gold. Additionally, due to the increase of gold price since 2007, the ~120,000 gold miner indicated in CASM-07, might have increased to ~500-1,000,000, which would be closer to UBC-14. Best guess is 750,000.

2019: 382,000 in eastern DRC

IPIS 2019 ( IPIS “has collected this data through the single largest sustained mapping effort of the on-the-ground situation at mining sites and the trade routes in eastern DRC. In total, IPIS mapped about 2700 mines, employing 382,000 artisanal miners. IPIS also mapped 945oadblocks and 71 mineral trading centers.”

2018: 2,000,000

(ARM-18): 2,000,000 based on data from IIED-13, based on CASM-07

2018: 200,000

(IGF-18): Table 3, quoting HIL-16

Directly working in ASM: 200,000
Estimated number of dependants: 1,200,000
Main Minerals: Gold, Diamonds, Coltan

Possibly based on outdated sources

2016: 200,000


Directly working in ASM: 200,000
Estimated number of dependants: 1,200,000

Quoting possibly outdated sources: Data extracted from Dreschler (2001), Mutemeri and Petterson (2002), and UNECA (2011)

2014: 2,910,000

(UBC-14): Gold-only data produced by statistic modelling:

Expected ASM population: 2,910,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 5 t/a

2013: 2,000,000

(IIED-13): 2,000,000 (based on CASM-07)

2007: 2,000,000

(CASM-07): 2,000,000: Alhough no systematic census or comprehensive baseline studies have been undertaken; conservative estimates indicate are that there at least two million people, perhaps 3% of the population (estimated as 62.6 million in 2005), directly dependent on this extremely arduous, hazardous, and precarious activity for their livelihood.

Artisanal Miners in the DRC
* Kasaïs: All previous studies indicate 1 million in the Kasais alone. 500,000, around Tshikapa perhaps 300,000. The miners & negociants association in Mbuji-Mayi cite 1.3 million members. A further 200,000 diggers have been deported from Angola back to the DRC.
* Katanga: Estimates indicate around 150,000. (Kolwezi 30,000; Fungurume & environs 10,000; Likasi 20,000; Likasi-Kawama-Lubumbashi 30,000; Lubumbashi-Kipushi 10,000; north of Pweto & environs 10,000; Kalemie 10,000; others possibly 20,000).
* Sud Kivu & Maniema : Estimated at around 200,000. 
* Nord Kivu: Perhaps 200,000 spread across a variety of minerals.
* Orientale (east): 60-150,000 on the OKIMO concessions in Haut Ulélé and Ituri. Orientale (west): in the diamond fields could be 100,000.

1999: 150,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 150,000
Number of mines: n/a
Illegal mines: n/a

ReferenceYearCitationArchived CopyLink
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,…
GMA-182018UNEP (2018): Global Mercury Assessment 2018. Technical Background Report E-Annex. Chapter 3.2. UNEP,…
AMDC-172017AMDC (2017): ASM Sector Report. Selected countries policy profile review of…
HIL-162016Hilson, G. (2016): Artisanal and small-scale mining and agriculture: Exploring their links in rural sub-Saharan Africa. IIED,…
UBC-142014Seccatore, J., Veiga, M., et al. (Univ. of British Columbia - UBC) (2014): An estimation of the artisanal small-scale production of gold in the world. Scitotenv.…
IIED-132013Buxton, A. (2013): Responding to the challenge of artisanal and small-scale mining. How can knowledge networks help? IIED,…
CASM-072007CASM (2007): Briefing Note: Artisanal Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prepared for discussion and validation at the DRC Donor coordination meeting facilitated by CASM (Kinshasa 15-17 August 2007)…
ILO-991999Jennings, N. (1999): Social and labour issues in small-scale mines. Report for discussion at the Tripartite Meeting on Social and Labour Issues in Small-scale Mines. ILO,…

IPIS: Carte de l'exploitation minière artisanale dans l'Est de la RD Congo.


Ken Matthysen (IPIS), Steven Spittaels (IPIS associate researcher), Peer Schouten (DIIS): Mapping artisanal mining areas and mineral supply chains in Eastern DR Congo. Impact of armed interference & responsible sourcing.

ASM DATA - Country Database Record
Country CodeZAR
CountryCongo DRC
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2007
Publ. year2018
ASM Miners2,000,000
- gold750 ,000
Data curation extrapolated
Inc. DevMinsome
- min.1,800,000
- max.2,500,000
- female600 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgold, diamond, 3T, cobalt, copper
  • country/congo_drc.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/10/27
  • by Felix Hruschka