Total estimated based on recent ECU-2020a, or more precisely its below interpretation. Only comprises gold, but this is the main ASM commodity in Ecuador. –> 150,000
Min/max: ECU-2020a is recent and above total aligns well with earlier estimations, therefore low variation of +/- 10,000 (6%).
Female participation: ECU-2020a indicates 1,500/11,500 for “miners” (ASMO owners, without workers), which is 13%. Extrapolated to 150,000 → 20,000
Gold: All data is for gold.

2020: 150,000


La minería artesanal y de pequeña escala (MAPE) de oro ... en la actualidad se desarrolla en cinco zonas1 dentro de las cuales se han identificado 25 sitios mineros. 
La extracción primaria es el principal motor de la MAPE de oro, pues representa el 94% del oro producido (22 054 toneladas de Au), relegando la minería aluvial al 6% del oro producido (1,5 toneladas de Au).
... el sector MAPE de oro ... involucra más de 11500 mineros, de los cuales al menos 1500 son mujeres. Esta fuerza de trabajo promueve un sector productivo que representa cerca de $900 millones de dólares al año, es decir el 1% del PIB del Ecuador en el año 2018.

It is unrealistic that 11500 miner produce 900 MUSD/a, which would correspond to 78,000 USD per person and year. Apparently only members of ASMOs (share owners) were counted, but not their workers. Dividing the production value of 900 MUSD by the GNI per capita 900,000,000 / 6,000 results in at least 150,000 gold miner+worker.

2018: 100-130,000

(IGF-18): 105,000
(ARM-18): 128,000 replicating UBC-14.

2014: 128,000

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

Expected ASM population: 128,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 24.5 t/a

2014: 48,900

(SPDA-14): 48,900 Data apparently for gold and “illegal” only.

2013: 92,000

(IIED-13): 92,000 replicating MMSD-03

2003: 92,000

(MMSD-03): Estimate for MMSD research country: 92,000
MMSD study by F.Sandoval (

1999: 60,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 60,000
Number of mines: 400
Illegal mines: n/a

ReferenceYearCitationArchived CopyLink
ECU-2020a2020Minambiente, AGC (2020): Línea Base Nacional para la Minería Artesanal y en Pequeña Escala de Oro en Ecuador, Conforme la Convención de Minamata sobre Mercurio. GEF, UNIDO,…
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,…
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.…
SPDA-142014Heck, C., coord. (2014): La realidad de la minería ilegal en países amazónicos. SPDA.…
IIED-132013Buxton, A. (2013): Responding to the challenge of artisanal and small-scale mining. How can knowledge networks help? IIED,…
MMSD-032003Hentschel, T., Hruschka, F., Priester, M. (2003): Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining - Challenges and Opportunities. MMSD (IIED),…
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,…
ASM DATA - Country Database Record
Country CodeECU
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2020
Publ. year2020
ASM Miners150,000
- gold150 ,000
Data curation extrapolated
Inc. DevMinno
- min.140,000
- max.160,000
- female20 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgold
  • country/ecuador.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/11/10
  • by Felix Hruschka