Estimations from 2016-2021 appear coherent: 1,000,000 total and 500,000 gold.
Therefore min/max variation is estimated low at 5% (+/-50,000).
Female participation: Probably low in the islamic North but higher in the christian South: conservative estimation: 50,000.
Gold: Data from PlanetGOLD are considered solid: 500,000

2021: 500,000 - 2 million


The artisanal and small-scale mining sector provides an essential livelihood to thousands of people across Nigeria. ASM activity is widespread across the country to varying extents. Currently, there does not exist a reliable source for information on the total number of individuals involved in the ASM sector in Nigeria. Historical resources exist that estimate the sector directly employs around 400,000 (AMDC 2017; Oramah et al. 2015) to 500,000 people (Azubike 2009; Government of Nigeria 2009; Pulse 2019). An oft-cited statement by the then Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bawa Bwari, in 2018 stated that more than two million people in Nigeria directly or indirectly depend on ASM for their livelihood.
Women’s participation in the sector is varied, but generally more marginalized than men as they face discrimination and lack of access to capital and often occupy less capital-intensive parts of mine operations (transportation, processing, provision of food and goods). 

2021: 500,000 ASGM


People employed in ASGM: 500,000
Gold produced (kg/year): 14,000
Mercury released (kg/year): 21,000

2018: 1,000,000

Secretary of MMSD at OECD Responsible Minerals Forum 2018: 1,000,000

2018: 500,000

(IGF-18): Table 3

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

2016: 500,000


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

1999: 15,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 10,000 - 20,000
Number of mines: n/a
Illegal mines: n/a

ReferenceYearCitationArchived CopyLink
GEF-212021GEF (2021): Second phase of planetGOLD doubles countries addressing mercury in ASGM. Article on PlanetGOLD website, 29 March…
NGA-2021a2021Schneck, N., Ndagano, P., Olaniyi, O. (2021): Nigeria, Artisanal and small-scale sector. Delve Country Profile. World Bank, Pact,…
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,…
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 CodeNGA
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2021
Publ. year2021
ASM Miners1,000,000
- gold500 ,000
Inc. DevMinsome
- min.950,000
- max.1,050,000
- female50 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgold, gemstones, tin, baryte
  • country/nigeria.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/11/11
  • by Felix Hruschka