Education for the Transformation of Artisanal to Small-scale Mining, Ecuador (TransMAPE)



Focus Area

Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement




Jaime Webbe

sustainable development goals


$700,000 CAD


Global Affairs Canada

Who Benefits


Ecuador Vice Ministry of Mines

Small-scale miners in Ponce Enriquez and Portovelo-Zaruma



Mining communities

Delivery Partners

Ecuador Vice Ministry of Mines

The Challenge

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is the primary source of gold production in Ecuador, accounting for 85 per cent of total national production. Ecuador ranks fourth in Latin America in both estimated gold production and total number or artisanal and small-scale gold miners. The Government of Ecuador has prioritized formalizing and professionalizing the sector to maximize its benefits while addressing the environmental and social challenges associated with ASGM. In keeping with Ecuador’s 2009 Mining Law Chapter II on Small Scale Mining, the Vice Ministry is taking a two-pronged approach: legalize and educate. The Vice Ministry’s commitment to small-scale mining includes promoting special technical assistance programs, environmental management, mining safety, and training and professional education.

CIRDI's Approach

CIRDI believes that education is an essential entry point for better organization of the ASM sector and that it will ultimately support the political process of formalization. This is in line with Ecuador’s Vice Ministry of Mines approach for transformation of the sector, which includes an emphasis on technical training and education for both miners and regulators. Therefore, CIRDI collaborated directly with the Government of Ecuador through the Vice Ministry of Mines on developing a long-term education and training program that blended Canadian and Ecuadorian technical expertise and experience to contribute, through education, to the development of a more socially and environmentally responsible small-scale mining sector.

Project Details

Through data collection, consultative dialogue and pilot training modules, the project worked collaboratively with Ecuadorian counterparts to develop a locally appropriate ASM training program, and an inter-ministerial action plan to scale-up pilot training activities. The project aim was to be adaptive and participatory, by engaging stakeholders at both the national and local level, and responding to local needs. The four key project components included:

  1. Applied research
  • On locally-appropriate gold recovery processes to eliminate mercury use
  • On key leverage points for improving current tailings management practices
  • On the role of Ecuador’s National Research Institute on Geology, Mining and Metallurgy in supporting the ASM sector
  1. Multi-stakeholder consultation for training program design
  • Identifying socio-economic dynamics of target mining communities
  • Participatory training model design
  1. Pilot training
  • Locally-appropriate gold recovery processes to eliminate mercury use
  • Leverage points for improving current tailings management practices
  1. Sustainable action planning
  • Political sustainability
  • Fiscal sustainability
  • Technical sustainability

Cross-cutting Themes


  • The project measured gender-disaggregated impacts for vulnerable groups such as women and children to ensure gender-specific issues were addressed in educational design and to ensure equitable access to education, resources and opportunities.


  • The project aimed to empower local and national level actors to manage chemical pollution through reduced or eliminated mercury use and improved tailings and waste management.


  • This project worked directly with the Vice Ministry of Mines and its research and regulatory institutions to help them fulfill their mandate under the 2009 Mining Law.

Project Activities


  • Developed partnership with Alliance for Responsible Mining to conduct ASGM stakeholder analysis, supply chain mapping and educational needs assessment of target regions.
  • Educational Needs Assessment Report and Gap analysis completed and distributed to key government authorities.
  • Developed a methodology for the participatory assessment of current gold-recovery processes and tailings management techniques in target regions.
  • Developed curriculum and learning strategies focused on reducing the use of mercury in the ASGM sector.
  • Three “Gold Dialogues” were organized and delivered in Ponce Enriquez, Zaruma and Quito in July 2018. A total of 77 (25 women and 52 men) ASGM stakeholders participated in a consultative dialogue with government, miners, processors, and other ASGM stakeholders, in order to identify immediate training needs.
  • Increased access to information on the realities of ASGM operations and impacts in target areas, Portovelo/Zaruma and Ponce Enriquez” through the production and dissemination of information/knowledge:
    • 2017 Fellowship Report
    • ASGMI report
    • ASGM Sampling analysis report
    • Technical Report on Fellowship-Capacitation about Metallurgical Processes ENG/ ESP
  • Helped organize an international gathering of representatives from 14 countries to share information, data, and experiences on the role of geological surveys and the use of geological data in the management and governance of ASGM. The main achievement of the meeting included a regional declaration for collaboration on ASM across the region.
  • TransMAPE has extended its networks of national and international partnerships. Experts from AGC, UNDP, FARO have joined CIRDI’s network.


  • Increased collection and use of ASGM data for decision-making regarding ASGM training interventions in Portovelo-Zaruma and Ponce Enriquez, Ecuador.
  • Improved integration into national objectives of an evidence-based training program for Southern Ecuador, aimed toward building capacity in environmentally sound, safe and economically efficient mining practices.
  • Reached a minimum of 40 government officials across three ministries for capacity building and 200 miners through pilot training modules.

project team


updates and news

Social Learning in the Context of Small-scale Gold Mining. Q & A with Dr. Gerald Fallon

The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), strategically located at UBC, recognizes the value of academia-government-industry engagement and its ability to ensure that new knowledge is applicable and available […]

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