Total Population: Often quoted in Zimbabwean news articles is the estimation of 500,000 - 1,500,000 (as in ZWE-2018a). This appears to be more realistic than partly outdated publications. → 1,000,000
Min/Max: The above estimation has a broad range. This might be partly attributed to uncertainty, but also to the population entering and exiting ASM according to economic constraints. → 0.5 - 1.5 million
Female participation: Perhaps somewhere between the 1/3 (MMSD-03) and the 11% (ZWE-2015a) → 25% i.e. 250,000
Gold: Probably (conservative estimate) at the lower range of Total → 600,000

2018: 500,000 - 1,500,000


"It is estimated that there are between 500,000 and 1,5 million artisanal and small scale miners operating in zimbabwe and of these only 16% are registered according to the mines and minerals regulation act Chapter 21;05.whilst 84% remain unregistered" 

(IGF-18): Table 3 quoting HIL-16

Directly working in ASM: 500,000
Estimated number of dependants: 3,000,000
Main Minerals: Gold, Diamonds, Coloured gemstones

2016: 500,000


Directly working in ASM: 500,000
Estimated number of dependants: 3,000,000



Women "Previous studies and reports have estimated that more than one-third of artisanal miners are women. The Pact scoping study found that only 11 percent of artisanal miners in the two target areas were women."

2014: 509,000

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

Expected ASM population: 509,000 
Estimated ASM gold production: 2.8 t/a

2013: 425,000

(IIED-13): 350,000 - 500,000

2003: 350,000

(MMSD-03): Estimate for MMSD research country: 350,000, 153,000 of them women and children
MMSD study by B.Drechsler (https://commdev.org/pdf/publications/Small-Scale-Mining-Development-SADC-Region.pdf)

1999: 200,000

(ILO-99): Employment: 50,000 - 350,000
Number of mines: 200
Illegal mines: +/- 30%

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, Westcombe.arm-18.pdfresponsiblemines.org/…
IGF-182018IGF (2018): Global Trends in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues. IIED/IISD, London, Winnipeg.igf-18.pdfiisd.org/…
ZWE-2018a2018ZEPARU (2018): Pathway to foermalization of Artisanal Mining in Zimbabwe. Harare..zwe-2018a.pdfzeparu.co.zw/…
GMA-182018UNEP (2018): Global Mercury Assessment 2018. Technical Background Report E-Annex. Chapter 3.2. UNEP, Geneva.gma-18.pdfwedocs.unep.org/…
AMDC-172017AMDC (2017): ASM Sector Report. Selected countries policy profile review of ASMamdc-17.pdfknowledge.uneca.org/…
HIL-162016Hilson, G. (2016): Artisanal and small-scale mining and agriculture: Exploring their links in rural sub-Saharan Africa. IIED, London.hil-16.pdfpubs.iied.org/…
ZWE-2015a2015Pact (2015): A Golden Opportunity: Scoping Study of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in Zimbabwe. Pact, Washingtonzwe-2015a.pdfpactworld.org/…
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. 496.ubc-14.pdfdoi.org/…
IIED-132013Buxton, A. (2013): Responding to the challenge of artisanal and small-scale mining. How can knowledge networks help? IIED, London.iied-13.pdfpubs.iied.org/…
MMSD-032003Hentschel, T., Hruschka, F., Priester, M. (2003): Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining - Challenges and Opportunities. MMSD (IIED), London.mmsd-03.pdfpubs.iied.org/…
ITDG-012001Dreschler, B. (2001): Small-scale Mining and Sustainable Development within the SADC Region. MMSD, ITDG, Londonitdg-01.pdfcommdev.org/…
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, Geneva.ilo-99.pdfilo.org/…
ASM DATA - Country Database Record
Country CodeZWE
ASM StatusExisting (data assessed)
Country Count1
Data year2018
Publ. year2018
ASM Miners1,000,000
- gold600 ,000
Data curation extrapolated
Inc. DevMinno
- min.500,000
- max.1,500,000
- female250 ,000
ASM Commoditiesgold, gemstone, diamond
  • country/zimbabwe.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/10/27
  • by Felix Hruschka