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Improving the ASGM sector, from miners to refiners

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. 

planetGOLD project sites in Philippines


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.


Key Strategies

Icon graphic - formalization

Support formalization
of the ASGM sector 

Mercury icon

Reduce mercury releases
in mining communities

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Educate and
raise awareness 

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Help miners access financing
and international gold markets

Other planetGOLD countries