Estimation follows most comprehensive data from ETH-2016a → 1,260,000
Min/max: ETH-2016a data seems well researched. As gold prices are continuously rising, max could now be even higher. → Range: 1.2 - 1.4 million.
Female participation: 35% → ~ 450,000
Gold: ETH-2016a indicates 1,024,000

2021: 1,200,000

(ETH-2021a) by IGC: “The sector is dominated by artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), which employs more than 1.2 million people from rural communities and urban youth.” Data probably protracted from ETH-2016a.

2018: 500,000

(IGF-18): Table 3

Directly working in ASM: 500,000
Estimated number of dependants: 3,000,000
Main Minerals: Gold

2016: 1,260,000

(ETH-2016a): “The artisan mining also significantly contributes to the employment of at least 1.26 million people and supports the livelihood of over 7.5 million populations.”

Exact number at the time of study: 1,259,910
Femal participation: "In all the locations considered in the study, the majority of the artisan miners are males (estimated at 65%). Women participation is significant in BGR (70%) and Oromia 30%), and low in SNNPR, Amhara and Tigray (< 20%)" --> 35% =~ 450,000
Gold: "The total population involved in gold mining (legal and illegal) is estimated at 1.24 million.": 1,024,000

2016: 500,000

(HIL-16): Directly working in ASM: 500,000
Estimated number of dependants: 3,000,000

2014: 728,000

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

Expected ASM population: 728,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 5 t/a

1999: > 100,000

(ILO-99): Employment: > 100,000
Number of mines: n/a
Illegal mines: n/a

ReferenceYearCitationArchived CopyLink
ETH-2021a2021Keili, A. Elias, H., Bekele, K. (2021): Artisanal and small-scale mining in Ethiopia. Scoping study for a comprehensive survey. IGC Policy brief…
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,…
HIL-162016Hilson, G. (2016): Artisanal and small-scale mining and agriculture: Exploring their links in rural sub-Saharan Africa. IIED,…
ETH-2016a2016EEITI (2016): Artisanal Mining Operation and its Economic Values, Ethiopia. EEITI, Addis…
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.…
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 CodeETH
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2016
Publ. year2021
ASM Miners1,260,000
- gold1 ,024 ,000
Inc. DevMinno
- min.1,200,000
- max.1,400,000
- female450 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgold, opal, tungsten
  • country/ethiopia.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/02/02
  • by Felix Hruschka