Total: Considering 600,000 gold miners as per GEF-21 (and up to 630,000 according to 2018 data) and taking into account the additional important gemstone mining, total ASM pupulation can be reasonably estimated as 700,000
Min/max: Although assessments are recent, MDG-2021a reports possible variations up to 1 million. Variation therefore likely high at max limit → 650,000 - 1,000,000
Female participation: Based on the 2018 data of 37% women (and assuming that the percentage is similar in gemstone mining) and MDG-2021a estimating between 1/3 and 1/2, and given the possible max value, the number of female miners is estimated as 50% of Total → 350,000.
Gold: Assessed in GEF-21 as 600,000

2021: 600,000 ASGM


People employed in ASGM: 600,000
Gold produced (kg/year): 14,000
Mercury released (kg/year): 18,000


The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector is an important source of income for rural populations but remains largely informal across Madagascar. It is therefore difficult to estimate both the jobs created by the sector and total production volumes. The 2014 mining policy estimates that one million people are employed in artisanal mining in Madagascar (Crawford and Nikièma 2015 citing 2014 Mining Policy). In 2011, the Ministry of Economy, Commerce, and Industry estimated that about 500,000 workers were involved in ASM, second only to agriculture (USGS 2015 citing Ministry of Economy, Commerce, and Industry, 2011). In 2015 an estimate of the Ministry of the Presidency in charge of Mines and Petroleum identified about one million workers working directly in the sector and it has been said to be the second largest provider of employment after agriculture in Madagascar (MMP 2018).

It is estimated that between a third (MEEF, 15; Raharison 2010, 43) and as much as half of those working in ASM are women (Lawson 2018, 172).

2018: 631,000

15.9.2018 at by Hanitriniaina Liliane RANDRIANOMENJANAHARY:
For national artisanal miners, the total number of gold miners at the national level is estimated at 630,736, of which 37% are women and 20% are children.
The annual national production for artisanal miners is estimated at 7,761,583 grams or 7.76 tons of gold.

2018: 500,000

Personal communication by Tom Cushman during OECD Responsible Minerals Forum 2018: 500,000

2018: 475,000

(ARM-18), Table Annex 3: 450,000 - 500,000
Quoting Cook & Healy (2012):

2018: 500,000

(IGF-18): Table 3

Directly working in ASM: 500,000
Estimated number of dependants: 2,500,000
Main Minerals: Gold, Coloured gemstones

2016: 500,000


Directly working in ASM: 500,000
Estimated number of dependants: 2,500,000

2014: 437,000

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

Expected ASM population: 437,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 3.5 t/a

1999: 12,500

(ILO-99): Employment: 5,000 - 20,000
Number of mines: 83
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,…
GEF-212021GEF (2021): Second phase of planetGOLD doubles countries addressing mercury in ASGM. Article on PlanetGOLD website, 29 March…
HIL-162016Hilson, G. (2016): Artisanal and small-scale mining and agriculture: Exploring their links in rural sub-Saharan Africa. IIED,…
IGF-182018IGF (2018): Global Trends in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues. IIED/IISD, London,…
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,…
MDG-2021a2021Ndagano, P., Schneck, N. (2021): Madagascar, Artisanal and small-scale sector. Delve Country Profile. World Bank, Pact,…
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.…
GMA-182018UNEP (2018): Global Mercury Assessment 2018. Technical Background Report E-Annex. Chapter 3.2. UNEP,…



ASM DATA - Country Database Record
Country CodeMDG
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2021
Publ. year2021
ASM Miners700,000
- gold600 ,000
Inc. DevMinno
- min.650,000
- max.1,000,000
- female350 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgold, gemstones
  • country/madagascar.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/02/02
  • by Felix Hruschka