Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining


Cristina Villegas

director, mines to markets

Promoting Mercury-Free Mali (Pro-MFM)

Country: Mali
Funder: U.S. State Department

Pact’s Promoting Mercury-Free Mali project brings together miners, industry and government stakeholders in an integrated approach to help resource-dependent communities and artisanal and small-scale gold miners to be safer as well as more formal and productive. The project aims to reduce mercury use and reliance, while strengthening supply chains in Mali’s small-scale gold mining sector. The effort includes technical support for mercury abatement, increased transparency and resiliency for the ASGM sector, and incentivizing and realizing responsible ASGM supply chains. The project works with miners, investors and gold traders interested in adopting mercury-free business models, in Keneiba Cercle in the Kayes Region of Western Mali.

Promoting Mercury-Free Mining (Pro-MFM)

Country: Ghana
Funder: U.S. State Department

The Promoting Mercury-Free Mining project is a three-year effort implemented by Pact in partnership with Solidaridad, Minerals Commission Ghana, and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. The project aims to reduce the use of mercury in Ghana’s artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector through education, the introduction of better technology, strengthened equipment supply chains and demonstrating business incentives for mercury-free gold production.

Piloting National Action Plan Implementation in Sierra Leone

Country: Sierra Leone
Funder: GIZ

Sierra Leone’s burgeoning artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector provides critical livelihoods for women and young men, but is largely informal and associated with a range of social and environmental challenges, including mercury use. In response, the government of Sierra Leone has developed a National Action Plan to reduce mercury usage in the ASGM sector, through formalization, introduction of better mining practices and advancing gender equality in ASGM communities. Through this project, Pact is helping stakeholders to kick-start implementation of the NAP by supporting responsible gold production and trade and improved formal market access for ASGM miners and gold traders. Interventions will target Sierra Leone’s Tonkolili district, where significant ASGM activity takes place. Pact is focusing on organizational and technical strengthening for improved occupational health and safety, mercury-free production and regulatory compliance, as well as supply chain due diligence and market access.

Business Pilot for Responsible Mauritanian ASM Gold

Country: Mauritania
Funder: European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM)

This project will demonstrate the business case for responsible artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Mauritania, where the sector is currently nascent, informal, reliant on mercury use and vulnerable to intrusion from insurgent groups operating in the wider Sahel region. With partners Magma Group and Aurum Monaco, Pact is supporting ASGM miners and forgerons (blacksmiths) to adopt improved methods for gold processing and jewelry-making, with reduced environmental and health impacts. By establishing an exporting company under Magma, the partners aim to establish a transparent and ‘clean’ supply chain from Mauritania’s gold mines to Aurum’s refinery in Monaco. Government and regional stakeholders will be strengthened on due diligence and the novel EU Conflict Minerals Regulation, and engaged to ensure project interventions can be scaled sustainably.

Reducing Child Labor in Zambian Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining

Country: Zambia
Funder: London Metal Exchange

This project is taking a two-stage approach to mount an effective response to the pernicious problem of child labor in artisanal and small-scale mining in Zambia. First, Pact is conducting a series of baseline studies in Central and Copperbelt provinces to understand where, how and why children are engaging in mining activities, and the scope of the issue. Based on findings, Pact is implementing a package of interventions to support children to access education, social services and vocational training to help them leave child labor in mining behind for good. The project also includes sensitization and engagement activities for parents, caregivers and mining communities at large to reduce child labor. 

Sustainable Mine Site Validation

Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
Funder: USAID

This project is helping to counter illegal activities such as child labor, violence and other human abuses at artisanal mine sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through a validation process, the project verifies that no armed groups are present and that the mine has the legal authority to operate. This process is the first step to ensuring minerals are sourced responsibly and conflict-free, which contributes to broader peace and stability in the region.

Moyo Gemstones

Country: Tanzania

Moyo Gemstones is an ethical gemstone program currently being piloted with female artisanal gem miners in Tanzania’s Umba Valley. The effort is building the first scalable, artisanal and small-scale mined colored stone sourcing program, to assure responsibly produced, ASM-mined rubies, sapphires, garnets and tourmaline, from mine to market. The program empowers women miners to work safely, mine better, improve financial security and create stable, equitable markets for fair trade. 

Pact provided a forgivable grant investment to launch Moyo Gemstones. By developing an end-to-end solution leveraging traceability technologies, Pact aims to create pricing transparency and incentives for safe artisanal small-scale mining practices. Following its initial startup capital, Pact is exploring revenue generation models for long-term financial sustainability.

In addition to Pact, the program’s partners include the Tanzanian Women Miners Association (TAWOMA), Nineteen48, ANZA Gems and blockchain provider Everledger. Moyo means "heart" in Swahili. Learn more at

Watato Inje Ya Mungoti: Children Out of Mining

Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
Funder: Public and private-sector partners

Since 2015, Pact's Children Out of Mining project has been working with local and international partners as well as private-sector companies to address child labor at DRC mine sites. With positive, collective action and an integrated package of interventions designed to address root causes, the project achieved a 97 percent reduction in the number of children working at project mine sites in the first two years. Children Out of Mining, also known as WIM, has included awareness raising and education and livelihoods and positive parenting skills development. The project has changed attitudes and norms about child labor, increased community awareness of children’s rights and improved the enforcement of bans on child labor. Recent additions to the project have included targeted interventions to support particularly vulnerable and older children, as well as the expanded use of Pact’s signature WORTH for Miners program, which provides literacy, numeracy, savings and financial skills to miners to increase mining families’ economic resources and potential. The project has also added local committees in key mining areas, training for local suppliers on international standards, and exchange visits with other mining communities addressing child labor.

This project has been made possible by the support of the GE Foundation, The Boeing Company, International Tin Association, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Google, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rocbelt, Hope Mining Cooperative, Children’s Voice, ARDERI, Trafigura Foundation, ERG, Dell and others.

Empowering Artisanal Gemstone Miners in Tanzania

Country: Tanzania
Funder: Gemological Institute of America

Through this program of Pact and Gemological Institute of America, artisanal and small-scale miners are gaining critical new knowledge about rough gems that is empowering them to earn more. The Pact-GIA program began in 2016 with the pilot of a rough gem guide produced by GIA. Made specifically to give basic gemological and market knowledge to artisanal miners in gem-producing regions, Selecting Gem Rough explains the fundamentals of identifying, processing and valuing stones. It comes with hands-on training from an expert gemologist. This helps miners better understand the quality and value of their products, which improves their position in the supply chain and their economic development opportunities.


Funder: World Bank and Pact

The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector faces significant challenges in data availability and quality, which undermines the sector’s contribution to global development and perpetuates a widely held public narrative that ASM is dirty, chaotic and unavoidably linked to conflict and environmental and social harm. The World Bank and Pact are partnering with sector stakeholders to develop an unprecedented database that makes accurate, integrated data on artisanal and small-scale mining available online. The data platform is called Delve. The first version of the platform is set to go live in 2019. To learn more or sign up to partner with the initiative, visit the program’s webpage at