The Women of the Development Minerals Sector


International Women’s Day 2017




Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is the largest production base of Development Minerals in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Women make up more than 40% of the conservatively estimated eight million artisanal and small-scale miners in Africa alone.

Women's involvement in the sector varies within and between countries. Many are involved in actual mining, quarrying and rock crushing. Others are active in the use, value-addition and sale of Development Minerals in local markets. Many others earn a livelihood by supplying goods and services to Development Minerals operations.

In some of the poorest, most marginalised communities, Development Minerals provide a steady and reliable income for women, which helps meet the cost of essential household expenses, including food, clothes, school fees and books, as well as family medical costs, which helps improve their standard of living and overall well-being.

To mark International Women's Day, we met three women working in the Development Minerals sector and asked them why they choose to be part of the sector. We hope you enjoy meeting them.



ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme

‘Development Minerals’ are minerals and materials that are mined, processed, manufactured and used domestically in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Development Minerals are economically important close to the location where the commodity is mined. They include industrial minerals, construction materials, dimension stones and semi-precious stones.

  • Africa

    The African Union Commission has called member states to prioritize 'Development Minerals' as part of Africa's industrialization agenda. Find out more about our twenty-eight participating countries and four focus countries in Africa.

    All about this region

  • Caribbean

    "Development Minerals" underpin the construction and tourism sectors in the Caribbean. Find out more about our six participating countries and one focus country in the region.

    All about this region

  • Pacific

    The Pacific is literally built on sand. Find out more about our six participating countries and one focus country in the region.

    All about this region


East Africa

Population growth is creating a huge demand for housing and infrastructure, as well as the Development Minerals needed for the construction industry.


West Africa

Guinea-Conakry is one of the world's top bauxite producers, but it also has the potential to realise opportunities from the mining of Development Minerals.


Southern Africa

Zambia is paving more than 2000 km of roads with locally sourced pavers and cobblestones and in the process is creating tens of thousands of jobs.


Central Africa

The Government of Cameroon requires contracting authorities to incorporate local materials in the construction of public buildings.



Ancient coral, long ago compressed into limestone under the weight of mud, sand and yet more coral, accounts for 65% of the Jamaican island by weight, and 85% of its surface coverage.



Of the 68 active mineral extraction sites in Fiji, 66 mine Development Minerals.

Participating Countries

Forty (40) countries are participating in regional level training and knowledge exchange. Find out which ones.

[Africa] [Caribbean] [Pacific]

Focus Countries

Six (6) countries are undertaking in depth capacity building and country level training.

What are Development Minerals?

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