The Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) Department is one of the departments in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development that was created during the mining sector reform in 2006. The Department through appropriate policy formulation, implementation and monitoring; organizes, supports, regulates and promotes artisanal and small-scale mining to generate wealth in a manner that is environment friendly, health and safety conscious and conducive to rural livelihood and community well-being. The Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Department is responsible for the direct supervision of artisanal and small-scale mining in Nigeria.

Objectives of the Department

a. Improve skill and efficiency of mining and processing techniques amongst the ASM operators.

b. Facilitate the improvement of the ASM operators’ level of productions and income.

c. Promote ASM’s access to finance and product markets.

d. Encourage needs-driven research on ASM and ensure that information and technology is accessible to ASM sub-sector.

e. Facilitate the formalization of the ASM subsector.

f. Facilitate the mutually beneficial co-existence of big and small-scale mining operations.

Roles, Responsibilities, & Functions of the Department

The functions of the ASM Department include the implementation of the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 as it concerns Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and developing a robust policy/legal framework to guide artisanal and small-scale mining in Nigeria. In specific terms, the functions include;

a. Supervising the activities of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners by organizing them into manageable, registerable and legally identifiable groups of Mining Cooperatives and Quarry Associations.

b. Registration of Mining Cooperatives/Quarry Associations as well as Private Mineral Buying Centres to open up market opportunities for Artisanal Miners.

c. Provision of Extension Services to registered Mining Cooperatives/Quarry Associations on explorations, exploitation, mineral processing, entrepreneurial training, environmental management, health & safety issues, mineral reserve evaluation, mine design & planning, etc;

d. Relating directly with the Mining Communities with a view to improving and sustaining their physical livelihood.

e. Ensuring orderly development of mineral resources as it concerns ASM.

f. Promote access to finance for ASM operators.

g. Prepare and render records, reports and returns on ASM as required by the Law or prescribed by the Mining Regulations.

h. Coordinating the involvement of government with other nations and multi-lateral agencies such as United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Department for International Development (DFID), etc. regarding ASM operations in Nigeria.

Projects of the Department

i. Provision of Extension Services to ASM Operators.

ii. Mapping & Survey of ASM Operations Across the Country:

iii. Enhancing Formalization and Mercury-Free Gold in Nigeria

iv. Gender Mainstreaming and Child Labour Eradication in the Mining Sector Project.

v. Development of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Clusters Project.

vi. Safer Mining Techniques Centre for Precious and Industrial Metals Project

vii. Formalization/Mainstreaming of Mining Artisans in the Country.

Head of Department

Yunusa Mohammed


The division facilitate provisions of extension services to formalized ASM operators and render advisory services to formalized ASM operators on mineral exploration, access to credit facilities, mineral commodity marketing, ASM business development and Health, Safety & Environment.

The division facilitates corporate community relationship in ASM communities, formalization of artisanal mining activities through registration of cooperatives, improving ASM businesses through implementation of capacity building activities. And facilitate ASM host community development.