About the Alliance for Responsible Mining

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) was established in 2004 and is a leading global expert on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). We work to transform the ASM sector into a socially and environmentally responsible activity, while improving the quality of life of artisanal miners, their families and communities.

Our mission

We facilitate the empowerment of artisanal and small-scale miners, their organization and the adoption of good practices, promoting favorable environments for the inclusion of artisanal and small-scale miners in the formal economy. We create voluntary standard systems for production and trade and support the creation of responsible supply chains.

 Download our Code of Ethics (Spanish).

Our vision 

A legitimate, responsible and profitable artisanal and small-scale mining sector which promotes inclusive and sustainable development.

Transversal approaches


We prioritize the continuity of projects in territories where we work to understand the existing context, develop trusting relationships and facilitate collaboration between diverse actors to reach an agreed territorial vision where responsible artisanal and small-scale mining is developed.


Artisanal and small-scale mining is a complex sector that needs integral solutions. We propose multifaceted strategies for long-term development, which includes facilitating dialogue with key actors to agree on realistic and feasible solutions for a peaceful and sustainable coexistence.

Progressive improvement

The road towards responsible artisanal and small-scale mining is long but is viable for those miner groups who are legitimate and committed. Our strategies facilitate progressive improvement, building on the strengths of the miners and their capacities to address weaknesses.


We support miners in building strategies that respond to their real needs and priorities.

Gender and diversity

Only inclusive mining can achieve sustainable development. We analyze gender and diversity and we include them in the design of our strategies, which is an essential step to extend positive impacts of responsible mining to groups that live in vulnerable situations. We promote equity, empowerment, self-esteem, leadership, participation and financial independence of miners.

Our core strategies

Our history


Our story started in 2004, in Quito, Ecuador, at the headquarters of Rainforest Rescue International (FURARE) by an international group of community-based mining organizations, environmentalists, business representatives and certification specialists from Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, the Philippines, Holland, Mongolia, Peru, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom. Shortly after the office was set up in Envigado, Colombia; where we continue to have our headquarters.

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) was launched by a network of independent organizations with the aim of promoting responsible standards and criteria for artisanal and small-scale mining. We began our work with various organizations from different countries, drawing inspiration from the promising results achieved by the Oro Verde initiative in Colombia, a local strategy for conservation of the biodiversity of the Chocó Department of Colombia.


In 2006 our first standard, Standard Zero, was developed; and in folllowing years the standard was updated following consultation and workshops with the miners‘ organizations and a broad number of other stakeholders in Latin America.


In 2009, we entered into a partnership with Fairtrade International (FLO) to concieve the Fairtrade & Fairmined standard, based on Standard Zero. In 2010 the first version of the standard was created. On February 14th 2011, the first Fairtrade & Fairmined gold ever produced by artisanal and small-scale miners was introduced on the market in the UK and Canada. This was an achievement of historical importance in the global effort to transform artisanal and small-scale gold mining into a dignified and responsible activity.


The partnership with Fairtrade International brought both great success and important lessons. The speed of change in the ethical gold market led us to believe that greater opportunities for miners could be achieved by working independently, the organizations therefore decided not to renew the partnership on Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold in 2013.


Nowadays ARM is globally recognized as a leader and pioneer of responsible artisanal and small-scale mining. We continue to expand our network and have both projects and important new agreements in Africa and Asia to assist even more miners in benefitting from better conditions and access to fair markets. We work collaboratively with the whole supply chain: miners, legislators, industry bodies and buyers. Our stakeholder alliance is the largest in the field and represents the diverse perspectives of different groups, with a shared agenda.

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