About Open Extractives

The Open Extractives Programme aims to contribute to improving the working environment for artisanal small scale miners as well as to build on the body of knowledge for the achievement of Kenya’s policy goals towards the  Artisanal Small Scale Mining industry.

The Open Institute carried out a scoping study of Kenya’s extractives sector across several counties. The study informed Open Institute’s work and interventions with respect to artisanal small scale mining potential and the need to create a conducive ecosystem to foster its development. Through the study we learnt that:


Throughout extractives conversations, small scale miners are often left out in policy conversations and matters affecting them – to the extent that they, on the whole, remain unaware of policy discussions around their work.


There are significant socio-economic benefits to be reaped from small scale mining such as reducing poverty, creating alternative economies as well as contributing to the national incomes and state revenues.

The Challenge

Through the scoping study conducted, we discovered that there exist certain gaps for effective policy making within the artisanal small scale mining sector, namely:


Lack of Data

No official figures exist in the sector in the country of the number of persons carrying out small scale mining. The lack of data makes it hard for small and medium enterprises to grow, as there’s no data on the number of small scale miners, their needs and priorities.


Lack of Knowledge

Middlemen or brokers’ businesses are thriving on the account of a lack of knowledge on the part of the small scale miners who do not know the true value of minerals mined. These small scale miners often lose out on large earnings, while those that make some money lack the financial literacy on how to manage this newfound wealth.


Lack of Access to Markets

Small scale miners lack direct access to international markets and good prices for the minerals mined.

Our Goals

The Open Extractives Programme has the following key goals:

Support government to empower Artisanal Small Scale Miners (ASMs)

> Build a national database of ASMs, one that provides insight into how many ASMs there are in various locations where small scale mining is taking place. This database would help the government and other stakeholders find ways to support and collaborate better with ASMs.
> Work with governments to build ASM capacity towards :
  > Access to markets
  > Financial literacy
  > Mineral knowledge
  > Value addition
  > Safety

Mining Industry Transparency

Whereas the mining cadastre is online on the Ministry of Mining website, much of the data is closed to the public and other stakeholders. We shall be advocating for the improvement of the platform to establish greater data availability.

Outcomes that we hope for

Visibility of Miners’ Issues

The largest gaps that are being experienced in the small scale mining sector are that there is little information that the government is collecting and collating that can help these unique communities and their livelihoods. We aim to simply make sure that their issues are highlighted to the relevant government departments so that the communities survive.

Build on the body of knowledge

We aim to increase available knowledge of how small scale mining can continue to be a viable endeavour for these communities and what innovative ways might emerge for citizen advocacy and agency.


The Open Extractives Team

I have been responsible for establishing the Data scraping and wrangling division at the Open Institute, as well as contributed to the creation of grass-roots data literacy training modules. I believe that an informed person makes better choices.

Benjamin Charagu

Operations & Programme Director

I am a human rights and development professional with over 5 years experience in advocacy and supporting the coordination and implementation of donor funded projects in human rights, governance and development in Kenya. I am passionate about active citizen participation and advancing the rights of women.

Ivy Gathu

Programme Officer


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+254 721 327 511




209 State House Road,
P.O Box 50474, Nairobi 00100, Kenya