2022 COVID-ASM Data Dashboards Explore new data snapshots on the changing needs of ASM communities since the start of the pandemic


Scholarship on ASM in Indonesia has focused on the use of mercury which is used to stick to and easily extract small gold particles through a process known as amalgamation1. According to the United Nations, Indonesia is the world’s third largest mercury emitter after China and India, due to the increasing demand from ASM2. Despite these negative environmental impacts, it is estimated that the sector provides a livelihood to more than one million people in the country3. Read more in the Indonesia Country Profile.


Number of People
Working in ASM

Embed from Getty Images
Two diamond miners panning in Cempaka, Banjarbaru, South Borneo, Indonesia
Photo by Getty Images/Endra Rizaldi

With regards to ASM in Indonesia, many argue that officially recorded employment data does not represent the actual figure. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported in 2018 national employment in the mining sector (inclusive of LSM & ASM) was 1,454,256. Delve considers an estimated figure calculated by Gatot Sugiharto, Head of Association of Community Miners Indonesia [Asosiasi Penambang Rakyat Indonesia (APRI)] of 3,600,000 from a 2020 interview as the most recent available figure, but recognizes the lack of official data as a critical impediment to the sector's development.

The absence of official data is due to various factors, but principally due to the fact that many ASM activities are conducted without a license. There are three probable main causes for the low level of legalization: (i) complex and inefficient formalization mechanism; (ii) ASM is not a priority issue for the government; and (iii) lack of managerial skills, capital, and environmental management exerted by the ASM operators (Miharja, Setyo and Hadi 2015). Other factors include seasonal participation in the sector and the migration of miners (outflux of local miners and influx of non-local miners), who mainly look for new reserves.

The trend in ASM employment showed an increase over the period of 2006 – 2013, with a fourfold increase from 2006 to 2010. Such sharp increase was the result of an economic crisis (Ismawati 2010). During this period, working in ASM was a quick solution for people who were discharged from their formal job due to the crisis. Moreover, the escalating gold prices during the same period gave way to the opening of more ASGM locations (nearly doubling) and triggered new miners to become active.

Read more in the Indonesia Country Profile.


Data Source:

Production Weight (KG) by Mineral

Data Source:

Distribution of ASM Mine Sites by Primary Mineral

Based on 2015 survey conducted by Ministry of Environment and Forestry (n=352)

Note: The label “No data” in this chart indicates that a more detailed investigation was needed to verify the mineral mined at the respective location.

The data presented in this Version 1 of the Delve platform are from secondary sources and reflect data availability on the ASM sector. All data, countries and minerals are not yet represented. Data will be added on an ongoing basis as the global data gap on ASM continues to be filled. Visualizations created with Highcharts.com under a Creative Commons (CC) Attribution-NonCommercial license.

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