Democratic Republic of Congo

Artisanal mining in the DRC has had a long history of widespread economic importance. In the 1980s, artisanal miners primarily focused on diamonds, but during the 1990s increases in demand for tantalum, tin and tungsten fueled further diversification of the sector. Today, artisanal mining has extend its activity to gold, cobalt and copper. The country has received significant attention from the international community in the forms of legislative action and due diligence programs seeking to support the sector's development as well as respond to the range of political, economic and social challenges in DRC.

Photograph by Mickaёl Daudin

Key Minerals Mined by ASM

3T Mineral (Mixed) • Cassiterite • Cobalt • Coltan • Copper • Diamond • Gold • Wolframite

Democratic Republic of Congo ASM Employment

ASM employment in the DRC has seen notable growth over the past 30 years attributable to increased demand for minerals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten, and cobalt, along with increasing gold prices and local conflict. It is unclear why UNECA 2011 stated 200,000 miners citing CASM as a general source, when the CASM 2007 DRC study estimated employment at 2,000,000.

Data Source: World Bank 1995, ILO 1999, CASM 2007 , CFC 2008, UNECA 2011, Seccatore 2014, Chamber of Mines 2015

World Bank 1995: Cites "Jennings, 1994" but no additional citation information available to determine reference
CFC 2008: No citation provided, but likely citing CASM 2007
UNECA 2011: CASM is stated as general citation for ASM employment estimates
Seccatore 2014: Estimate represents artisanal and small-scale gold mining employment based on model using gold production to estimate ASGM employment
Chamber of Mines 2015: Annual report provides estimates by mineral for the artisanal mining sector, but notes data is "sorely lacking"

Democratic Republic of Congo ASM Diamond Production

Artisanal diamond production accounts for the majority of DRC diamond production. The significant increase in reported production from 2003 to 2004 was attributable to the Government’s participation in the Kimberley Process certification program for eliminating trade in conflict diamond and the abolition of the diamond export monopoly granted to International Diamond Industries (USGS 2004). It is estimated that diamond mining employed over half of the DRC's artisanal and small scale mining population (1,100,000 CASM 2007) at peak production in 2007. The sharp decline in production from 2007 to 2008 cites the worldwide economic crisis (USGS 2008).

Data Source: IMF 2005, USGS 2005, USGS 2010, USGS 2015

IMF 2005: Based on staff estimates
USGS 2005 & USGS 2015: An estimated 20% of total diamond is gem quality; the majority of production is from artisanal mining.


The data presented in this beta site is a sample and should be used for demonstration purposes only. All data, countries and minerals are not yet represented, and will be included in the full launch of the platform coming Summer 2019.

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