• Most reliable estimation, although partly protracking legacy data is per DELVE-19: 15,000,000 miners.
• Min/max: DELVE-19 mentions the 15M as “lowest figure” and that “figures are unreliable”. Therefore min:-0% / max +20%, i.e. 15M - 18M.
• Female miners: 10%-40%F + 60%M does not sum 100%! Possible difference of up to 30% are likely children. Therefore: Average = 25%F, plus 50% of remaining difference of 15% = 7.5% (half are girls). = roughly 1/3, i.e. 5,000,000?
• gold: using UBC-14 numbers of 915,000? as rough approximation.

2019: 15,000,000

DELVE-19: Country Profile India 15,000,000
ASM Employment: Exact and recent figures are difficult to obtain. According to the outdated ILO estimate, which do not appear to include all forms of quarry workers, 1–1.1 million people directly are said to work in ASM. Another publication, which is also now over a decade old, reports that over 1.5 people directly and 3 million indirectly are estimated to work in India’s ASM sector. However, given the lack of data on seasonal workers and the migrant laborers who circulate from one location to another, the number of people mining directly may be twice as high, at an estimated 3 million. The stone crushing sector alone, which is predominantly informal, is estimated to provide direct employment to over 500,000 people. Another estimate calculates there are 12 million quarry workers alone in India. This is in addition to the 3 million small-scale miners that are estimated working other metals and minerals, bringing the possible total up to 15 million (taking the lowest figure). Yet many of these figures are unreliable.

Women: 10–40%, Men: 60%
Formalization: 80% informal 
Materials mined by ASM
• Barite, bauxite, chromite, coal, copper, diamonds, gold, gemstones, granite, iron ore, limestone, manganese, marble, mica, sandstones, and slate

2018: 12,000,000

IGF-18 and ARM-18 protracting IIED-13 data.

2014: 915,000

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

Expected ASM population: 915,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 1.2 t/a

2013: 12,000,000

(IIED-13): 12,000,000

2003: 500,000

(MMSD-03): Estimate for MMSD research country: 500,000
MMSD study by S.L.Chakravorty (

1999: 1,050,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 1,000,000 - 1,100,000
Number of mines: > 10,000
Illegal mines: 10% - 60%

ReferenceYearCitationArchived CopyLink
DELVE-192019World Bank (2019): 2019 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector. World Bank, Washington…
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.…
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 CodeIND
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2013
Publ. year2019
ASM Miners15,000,000
- gold900 ,000
Data curation as reported
Inc. DevMinyes
- min.15,000,000
- max.18,000,000
- female5 ,000 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgemstones, diamonds, coal, gold, copper, chromite, manganese, iron ore, bauxite, granite, barite, mica, marble, limestone, sandstones, slate
  • country/india.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/02/02
  • by Felix Hruschka