Artisanal and Small Scale Mining National Federation, Mongolia

Our programme aims at developing a sustainable and safe working environment for artisanal and small-scale miners. 

Despite a vibrant and positive socioeconomic development that has transformed the country in the last two decades, Mongolia still faces important structural challenges that risk undermining its growth.

A major concern regards the unequal distribution of employment opportunities. These are concentrated in urban areas, while the vast majority of rural communities remains with little options of income generating activities. One of them is artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). In the last 20 years, ASM became an important economic sector with over 100.000 independent workers registered in pick periods – a figure that corresponds to nearly 20% of Mongolia’s rural workforce. Many of them work in the informal economy and take part in criminal activities where violation of human rights, health and safety risks, child labour, gender and age-based violence, and environmental destruction are rife.

The Artisanal Small-Scale Mining National Federation (ASM-NF) was created in 2013 to address all the major political, social and environmental issues associated with ASM in Mongolia. The Trafigura Foundation is proud to partner with this organisation to respond to the emerging needs of artisanal miners and improve the sector’s socio-economic capacity. Today, ASM-NF counts 6,500 members. Through this programme, our common ambition is to reach out to as many miners involved in illegal ASM as possible and help them enter legality, reduce health and safety risks, promote the respect of human rights and environmental stewardship.

The programme envisages the diversification of miners’ income opportunities, by helping them to develop small businesses or find alternative jobs through vocational training. An important work of awareness-raising about child, gender and human rights is offered to a group of 1,500 workers on the mining sites. In 2019, ASM-NF has also created three kindergartens for miners’ children to avoid their exposure to mines and dangerous sites. The Federation is now planning to build a further five kindergartens in summer 2020. 

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