Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is a thriving industry in the Philippines, with an estimated 500,000 miners operating in more than 40 provinces out of 81 provinces in the country. The Philippines is among the top 20 producers of gold worldwide, with 70 percent of its gold is attributed to ASGM.
Local communities in many mining areas have flourished by setting up complementary businesses that support mining operations and provide a further source of income. In addition to the miners directly involved in the supply chain, the ASGM sector supports the livelihood of another 2 million people.
However, many artisanal and small-scale miners use mercury in the gold extraction process—generating the country’s largest source of mercury emissions while directly exposing themselves, their families, and communities to the highly toxic substance. ASGM operations that use mercury also contaminate nearby soil, crops, oceans, fish, and other aquatic life upon which local populations rely.
Key Figures from The Philippines
500,000 miners employed in the ASGM sector
2 million people's livelihoods are supported by ASGM
70% of the country's gold is attributed to ASGM
40 out of 81 provinces in the Philippines with ASGM Activities
The Philippines’ Approach
The planetGOLD Philippines project is working toward eliminating mercury in the ASGM sector by using a bottom-up approach, involving members of the ASGM sector directly in the creation and implementation of policies and practices to sustainably improve mining operations and livelihoods. In partnership with the national government, the project team is working to create an enabling environment for a formalized ASGM sector that enhances community development, improves productivity, and eliminates the use of mercury.
Reduce mercury releases
Help miners access financing
Gold With Dignity: A Review of Laws and Policies on Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) in the Context of Human Rights-Based Approach to Formalization in the Philippines
planetGOLD Philippines English
This study is an assessment of the existing legal and policy framework in the Philippines on artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in order to determine the pathways for the formalization of the ASGM sector. The study specifically aims to: (1) Review and analyze the existing policies and legal framework governing the ASGM sector, gold trading, and illicit financial flows (IFF) in the Philippines; (2) Assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the laws and regulations governing ASGM in the two project sites, namely: Paracale, Camarines Norte and Sagada, Mountain Province; (3) Identify the gaps and barriers, both legal and non-legal, to the formalization of the sector; and (4) Provide specific recommendations on the policy issues and gaps that were identified with specific gender-responsive policy recommendations that would address the gaps and barriers in the formalization of ASGM as a sector.
Brochure: Formal Gold Trading with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (English)
Artisanal Gold Council planetGOLD Philippines English
The brochure intends to encourage small-scale miners to sell gold to the BSP and its authorized representatives. It contains the advantages of selling gold formally, the basic information about the BSP, and its gold-buying conditions.
Brochure: planetGOLD Criteria for Environmentally and Socially Responsible Operations (English)
Artisanal Gold Council planetGOLD Philippines English
The brochure introduces a standard set of criteria for conformance of the SSM organizations under the planetGOLD program. It contains the summary of modules based on the CRAFT Code and the planetGOLD-specific criteria as per the GEF Environment and Social Safeguards requirements.
Mapping Interventions Addressing Child Labour and Working Conditions in Artisanal Mineral Supply Chains
FUNDAMANTALS & ITC-ILO International Labour Organization English
This mapping research shares key learnings and recommendations to address child labour in ASM drawn from Levin Source's latest report, in which they mapped existing interventions to address child labour and poor working conditions in the ASM sector in order to extract lessons learned and gaps from existing projects and initiatives that aim to address child labour.
ILO-CARING Gold Mining Project: Project Overview
The CARING Gold Mining Project’s overall goal is to increase to address child labour and working conditions issues in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) globally and in Ghana and the Philippines, its pilot countries. It does so by pursuing four outcomes, the first three to be carried out in the pilot countries and the fourth one on a global scale.
Caring Gold Mining Project: Comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan (CMEP) end-of project data analysis
International Labour Organization English
The purpose of this analysis is to compare what was planned for in the CMEP with what was achieved and what could have been done differently to serve as a learning for other Projects.
Central Bank Domestic ASGM Purchase Programmes
World Gold Council English
This report examines four countries whose central banks actively purchase gold from domestic ASGM production, and considers lessons learned in formulating policies towards ASGM. It describes central bank domestic purchase models, the impact they can have on improving practices associated with small-scale gold production, and the benefits of domestic gold buying for reserve management purposes.
Illicit Mercury Flows and Governance Practices in Mindanao, Philippines
Jashaf Shamir A. Lorenzo, BAN Toxics IUCN - National Committee of the Netherlands English
This report documents the illicit mercury flows in Mindanao, Philippines as well as the various governance practices for mercury in the study areas. The study is conducted by BAN Toxics and focuses on Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) communities in the island, where the majority of illicit mercury enters the country.
Opening the black box: Local insights into the formal and informal global mercury trade revealed
A combination of factors is driving the continued use of mercury, including the lucrativeness of the trade, the informality of the ASGM sector, the poverty of many miners and the power imbalance between many traders and miners. Mercury governance within the investigated countries has potential for improvement. To tackle the mercury problem, action should be taken that addresses the problem from all angles and takes all key stakeholders into account. The report is a compilation of findings from investigations that IUCN NL’s local partner organisations carried out. More detailed findings for each country can be found in the respective country/regional report.
Developing Training Materials to Promote the Reduction of Mercury Use in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining
APEC Secretariat English
This report summarizes the activities and results of the project Developing Training Materials to Promote the Reduction of Mercury Use in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining. Overall, the project sought to produce a business training module based on leading global practice in ASGM and designed to promote Minamata Convention compliance. This project is intended to enhance coordination among ASGM education programs throughout the APEC region in support of domestic and international mercury reduction efforts.
A Rapid Assessment of Gold and Financial Flows linked to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Philippines: Follow the Money Philippines
Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime Levin Sources English
Levin Sources and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime produced two case studies identifying financial flows-both licit and illicit- in Mongolian and Filipino ASGM sectors. This report, focusing on The Philippines, provides a nuanced first-look at how stakeholders can better understand and respond to the role gold supply chains and financial flows play in formalization efforts.
Contact planetGOLD Philippines
The planetGOLD Philippines project is implemented by the UN Environment Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and executed by the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) in partnership with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
National Project Manager
Artisanal Gold Council
Dawn Po Quimque
Communications Officer (Philippines)
Artisanal Gold Council
3rd Floor, New Multi-Purpose Bldg., MGB Compound, North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, 1128 Metro Manila
Other planetGOLD countries
planetGOLD project sites in Philippines