South Africa

Total: Latest data (IGF-18 after HIL-16 is 20,000. but it is not clear whether this includes the large number of Zama-Zama miners. A total closer to UBC-14 is considered mor realistic → 30,000.
Min/max: UBC-14 data as max → 20,000 - 37,000
Female participation: no data. Working hypothesis 15% → 3,000
Gold: All data presumably ASGM → 30,000

2018: 20,000

(IGF-18): Table 3

Directly working in ASM: 20,000
Estimated number of dependants: n/a
Main Minerals: Gold

2016: 20,000


Directly working in ASM: 20,000
Estimated number of dependants: n/a

2014: 37,000

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

Expected ASM population: 37,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 17 t/a

2013: 10,000

(IIED-13): 10,000

2003: 10,000

(MMSD-03): Estimate for MMSD research country: 10,000
MMSD study by B.Drechsler (

1999: 10,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 10,000
Number of mines: 5,500
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,…
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,…
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),…
ITDG-012001Dreschler, B. (2001): Small-scale Mining and Sustainable Development within the SADC Region. MMSD, ITDG,…
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 CodeZAF
CountrySouth Africa
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2014
Publ. year2018
ASM Miners30,000
- gold30 ,000
Data curation extrapolated
Inc. DevMinno
- min.20,000
- max.37,000
- female4 ,500
ASM Commoditiesgold
  • country/south_africa.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/11/24
  • by Felix Hruschka