Hand holding gold nugget

About the Programme

Our Mission:

To make small-scale gold mining safer, cleaner, and more profitable

Our Vision:

A clean global supply of gold from small-scale miners


The planetGOLD programme works in partnership with governments, the private sector, and ASGM communities in nine countries to significantly improve the production practices and work environment of artisanal and small-scale miners. By working to close the financing gap, supporting formalization, raising awareness, and connecting mining communities with mercury-free technology and formal markets, the programme aims to demonstrate a pathway to cleaner and more efficient small-scale gold mining practices that benefit everyone, from mine to market.

Supporting countries’ commitments under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the planetGOLD programme is working to eliminate mercury from the supply chain of gold produced by artisanal and small-scale miners by:

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Supporting efforts to integrate the ASGM sector into the formal economy, society, and regulatory system

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Introducing and facilitating access to mercury-free technologies and best practices in ASGM

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Facilitating miners’ access to formal gold supply chains, in partnership with gold buyers and industrial users

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Piloting a range of models for access to investment and finance for small-scale miners and their communities



The Opportunity

Artisanal and small-scale miners are responsible for producing 20 percent of the world’s gold each year. Due to limited economic opportunities or a lack of awareness about the dangers, many of these small-scale mining operations use the highly toxic chemical mercury to extract their gold, making this sector the largest source of mercury pollution in the world. This 3,000-year-old method for processing gold is leading to grievous environmental and health consequences.

The planetGOLD programme recognizes the opportunity that exists to upgrade the practices of 10-20 million small-scale miners—sustainably boosting their productivity while improving the gold supply chain and significantly reducing global mercury pollution. Transforming the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector has the potential to inject new capital into local economies and improve the lives of more than 100 million people, who rely on this industry directly or indirectly for their livelihood.


Infographic of data on ASGM


Who We Are

Supported by the Global Environment Facility, planetGOLD is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and implemented in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development OrganizationUnited Nations Development Programme, and Conservation International.

The planetGOLD programme is executed by 19 government agencies and other organizations in Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, Peru, and the Philippines.

The programme also includes a global knowledge management and communications project, which facilitates the dissemination of information from planetGOLD to mining stakeholders and communities, government, and civil society—while developing approaches to help deliver finance to the ASGM sector. This global project is executed by the Natural Resources Defense Council with technical assistance from the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.



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