CARING Gold Mining Project

Convening Stakeholders to Develop and Implement Strategies to Reduce Child Labor and Improve Working Conditions in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM)
Project Duration
December 2015
March 2020
Funding and Year

The Problem

In some 70 countries around the world, an estimated 10-15 million artisanal and small-scale gold (ASG) miners generate 15-20 percent (200 – 300 tons) of the world’s annual gold production. ASG miners are often poor and vulnerable, as they lack titles to their mines and legal work contracts; they work under shoddy environmental and occupational safety and health standards; and they mine marginal and/or very small deposits. Many of them use mercury to amalgamate gold, which pollutes the land and local sources of water. In Ghana, there are an estimated one million artisanal and small-scale miners, while in the Philippines there are 300,000. In both countries, tens of thousands of children work in underground shafts, carry heavy loads, and use mercury to separate gold from sediment with their bare hands. These activities expose them to labor exploitation, physical injuries, harmful dust, and mercury fumes. Although Ghana and the Philippines have made efforts to tackle the situation, they have not fully enforced laws related to ASG mining and child labor; they have not formalized ASG mining activities or monitored gold supply chains; and they have not addressed poverty and social exclusion in ASG mining communities.

Our Strategy

Convene stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to reduce child labor and improve working conditions in artisanal and small-scale gold (ASGM).

Intermediate Objectives:

Ghana and the Philippines

  • Laws, policies, and action plans to address child labor and working conditions in ASGM are strengthened, enforced, and/or implemented.
  • Access of vulnerable households living in ASGM communities to social protection services and to improved livelihood programs is increased.
  • Mechanisms to increase transparency and monitoring of child labor and working conditions in gold mining supply chains are developed and implemented, with a particular focus on ASGM.

Global, Ghana, and the Philippines 

  • Global networks to reduce child labor in ASGM and improve working conditions in countries where ASGM is significant are operational.
  • Innovative solutions to reduce child labor and improve working conditions in ASGM are supported and disseminated in Ghana, the Philippines, and other countries.

Summary of Activities:

Ghana and the Philippines 

  • Review or draft legislation to address child labor in ASGM.
  • Train government stakeholders to design and implement strategies to address child labor and working conditions in ASGM.
  • Strengthen capacity of local civil society organizations, including those working with children and youth, to advocate for access to social services and improved livelihood.
  • Test ASGM module of the Child Labor Guidance Tool for Business developed by the ILO and the International Organization of Employers. 

Global, Ghana, and the Philippines  

  • Identify local, national, and global stakeholders to set up networks and use existing networks and platforms such as Child Labor Knowledge System and the Basel Action Network in South East Asia.
  • Fund innovative solutions to reduce child labor and improve working conditions in ASGM.
  • Organize an interregional conference on child labor and working conditions in ASGM.


The project will work with a wide range of stakeholders, including national, regional, local governments, miner associations, mining companies, trade unions, NGOs/civil society groups, media, academia, communities, miners, parents, and children.