Total: Apparently historic/statistic estimates, based on increasing initial estimates of ILO-99, do not take into account “illegal” (i.e. informal) miners. See AMDC-17! Sitting in-between of DRC, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, the AMDC-17 estimate is much more plausible → 500,000
Min/max: AMDC-17 indicates “over 500 thousand” additional to 400 formal mines. → 500,000 - 600,000
Female participation: no data. Likely in the magnitude of neighboring countries (20-30%). In videos, a lot of women can be observed. → 125,000 (?)
Gold: no quantitative data. Acording to the Minamata Initial Assessment ( there are no emission from ASGM. Video evidence (see below) however shows local communities engaged in ASGM. Possibly ASGM is not reported because of being considered “illegal” in this country with an important LSM sector. It appears reasonable to assume that at least 1% of the miners are ASGM miners → 5,000

2018: 55,000

(IGF-18): 30,000 -80,000 (55,000)

2017: 500,000

(AMDC-17): Page 109: “The mining is done by … more than 400 small scale miners and non specified number of illegal miners and artisanal miners who are estimated to be over 500 thousand.”

2014: 87,000

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

Expected ASM population: 87,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 1.4 t/a

2013: 30,000

(IIED-13): 30,000

2003: 30,000

(MMSD-03): Estimate for MMSD research country: 30,000
MMSD study by B.Drechsler (

1999: 25,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 20,000 - 30,000
Number of mines: 200
Illegal mines: +/- 15%

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,…
AMDC-172017AMDC (2017): ASM Sector Report. Selected countries policy profile review of…
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 CodeZMB
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2017
Publ. year2017
ASM Miners500,000
- gold5 ,000
Data curation as reported
Inc. DevMinno
- min.500,000
- max.600,000
- female125 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgemstone, 3T, copper, gold
  • country/zambia.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/11/11
  • by Felix Hruschka