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Artisanal and small-scale mining

Gold mining Gold is mined all over the world‌ ...either in highly mechanized industrial mines‌

‌or in artisanal and small-scale mines (ASM).

Artisanal and small-scale mining

While artisanal and small-scale mining is responsible for an estimated 10-20% of global production it employs 90% of the workforce behind gold extraction. It is often performed in rural communities, using simple tools or technologies.

It is hard manual work and often a poverty driven activity.


Approximately 10-15 million gold miners and their families are dependent on this economic activity to make a living. That is about half of the total amount of artisanal miners in the world. *

* According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Š Nigel Wright

Negative image of the sector Irresponsible use of toxic chemicals

Child labour

Air contamination Greater gender inequality

Fuelling of conflicts

Health & saftey risks Negative impacts on communties

Water & soil contamination

Hazardous & exploitative conditions

BUT: Despite all these challenges this sector has incredible potential to contribute to local & national development.

The Alliance for Responsible Mining

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM)


Not-for-profit organization established in 2004.

Global leading expert on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).

Headquarter: Colombia. Project interventions: Latin America, Africa, Asia. Our aim: Enhance equity and well-being for ASM communities.

Our Mission

Our mission is to set standards for responsible artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and to support and enable producers to deliver Fairmined certified metals and minerals through economically just supply chains to the markets, in order to

contribute towards the transformation of the sector into a socially and environmentally responsible activity and to the improvement of the quality of life of marginalized artisanal miners, their families and communities.

Our Vision

Our vision is for artisanal and small-scale mining to become a formalized, organized

and profitable activity that uses efficient technologies, and is socially and environmentally responsible. It is a vision of a sector that increasingly develops within a framework of good governance, legality, participation and respect for

diversity and that increases its contribution to the generation of decent work, local development, poverty reduction and social peace in our nations, driven by a growing consumer demand for sustainable minerals and ethical jewelry.

Our core strategies

Assisting miners on the ground

Developing standards and certification systems

Building responsible gold supply chains and markets

Promoting inclusive policies in the mining sector

Assisting miners on the ground

© Nigel Wright

© Manuela Franco

Mining organizations © Manuela Franco

ARM’s miners support unit has the closest link to:

Individual miners Women jewelry groups

Assisting miners on the ground Identifying beneficiary groups & relationship building Mercury reduction/elimination Technical and socio-economic characterization & support Designing improvement plans & needs assessment Holistic support, monitoring and evaluation Improving administrative, economic, environmental, labor and community practice

Developing standards and certification systems Develop Standards that promote responsible and fair practices in the ASM sector.

Establish third party certification and audit systems that ensure that artisanal mining communities comply with the requirements of the Standards.

Facilitate access to fair markets for ASM all over the world through the Certification System.

Fairmined Certification creates opportunities for miners and gives the mining organizations incentives to become responsible in economical, technological and environmental manners.

Building responsible gold supply chains and markets The Fairmined Initiative and Business Development Unit support Fairmined certified mining organizations in accessing the market and find buyers.

Create communication channels between buyers and miners.

Support the establishment of efficient and responsible supply chains.

Promote Fairmined certified gold within the gold industry.

Building responsible gold supply chains and markets Influence public policies so that regulatory frameworks are inclusive and favorable to ASM.

Work towards the recognition of the sector as a legitimate player on local, national and international level. Enable dialogues between the sector's players and construct knowledge and experience exchange networks. Strengthen local actors' capacities to help them participate in an effective and responsible manner in advocacy and policy-making processes. High level advocacy in countries where the Fairmined Standard is being implemented.

Provide trustworthy and relevant information on ASM.

Examples of implemented projects Year


Country of intervention

Description of projects




Reduction of the vulnerability to child labor; strengthen state, civil society and capacities of community institutions to be able to protect children, improve occupational security and health; formalize ASM.



Colombia, Peru & Bolivia


World Bank




Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali


United Nations

Democratic Republic of the Congo




1) Improve capacities of local organizations to support the certification and formalization of the sector; 2) Strengthen market incentives for formalization and sustainability of ASM; 3) Connect ASM to formal global markets; 4) Dissemination and knowledge management. Assist the Cameroonian Ministry for Mining, Industry and Technology in the creation of a methodology to improve competitiveness, structure and practice of the artisanal mining sector, and facilitating the implementation of a pilot project in supporting mining organizations in two regions. Create a fair gold supply chain in West Africa and reduce the use of mercury in extractive processes. Study about conflict gold through a comparative analysis of the mining code and a proposed roadmap for formalization and establishment of an inclusive mining sector. Development and implementation of a certification system for artisanal gold mining, with the objective of mitigating environmental damage caused by artisanal mining activities.

Countries where ARM has worked




Burkina Faso




DR Kongo Brazil

Peru Bolivia



Private Sector

Institutions and NGOs



ARM works with more


than mining organizations in projects.


Around mining organizations are working towards Fairmined Certification.


There are Fairmined certified mining organizations in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Mongolia.


500 kg

More than Fairmined Gold is being produced per year.

© Merzatta

300 kg

More than of Fairmined Gold sold within 2 years of the Fairmined Initiative.



More than businesses work with Fairmined Gold.

© VKDesigns

Impact Since 2014,

$1,023,000 in Fairmined Premium was paid to certified mining organizations.

2016 Q1 2015



$ 435,000

$ 460,000 Š ARM

Impact Fairmined Gold was used to fabricate international prizes

Palme D’Or of the Cannes Film Festival

Nobel Peace Prize

Olympic Laurel



6,800 direct beneficiaries.


© Nigel Wright © Nigel Wright

Over 14,500 indirect beneficiaries.

ARM general Presentation  
ARM general Presentation