Development of a Handbook for Ministry of Mines for supervising and guiding small-scale miners in Zambia

In 2007 the above project was approved by UNDP and it was subsequently carried out during 2007 by Peter Appel and John Tychsen the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland together with local consultants and a consultant from Danish Ramboll.

Front page of the Handbook

Front page of the Handbook

ASM handbook outline



How to discover a mineral deposit

A brief description of the most common minerals which are mined by ASM.

The description will comprise the following:

  • Colour
  • Physical properties such as hardness and transparency
  • Characteristics of accompanying minerals
  • Description of the geologic setting of the minerals
  • Geometry of the mineral occurrences
  • How to follow-up on a promising discovery such as boulder tracing and trenching

The description will be in three subchapters with the following headings

  • Metallic minerals such as gold, tantalum, lead, zinc, copper and tin
  • Industrial minerals such as diatomite, gypsum and barite
  • Gemstones such as ruby, sapphire, rubelite and diamond

The chapter will also include information on where to bring the discovered samples for identification.

The description will be supported by illustrations

How to obtain a licence

How to develop a deposit

  • Metallic
  • Industrial minerals
  • Gemstone

This is a general technical description of how to organise a mining site, what types of mining operations are used for which types of commodities. How the mining shall be planned in order to optimise extraction of the ore

Mineral processing

This chapter will describe all processing techniques seen during the field trip in November 2010 and means to upgrade them. Furthermore new techniques (for Zambia) relevant to ASM in the country will be described in detail.

Among the many improvements can be mentioned sluicing. This technique is used in recovery of metallic minerals such as gold and tantalum. The sluicing can be improved considerably. The improvements will be explained in detail and will be accompanied by detailed drawing which will make it possible for any local craftsman to produce highly efficient sluices. These sluices will increase the recovery of the minerals considerably.

Another example is amalgamation for gold extraction. The use of mercury can be abandoned by using borax. The borax method will not only increase recovery of gold but also not be harmful to the environment and the health of the ASM.

The description will be in three subchapters with the following headings:

  • Metallic
  • Industrial minerals
  • Gemstone

The description will be supported by illustrations

Health problems

A detailed description of the numerous health risks encountered in ASM will be given and ways to mitigate the hazards will be given.


The handbook can be obtained by contacting GEUS.