Artisanal and small-scale mining is an important livelihood activity for millions of people in the developing world with as many as 90% of the global mining workforce artisanal and small-scale miners. The International Conference on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining & Quarrying was a rare opportunity to foster global dialogue about the development opportunities and challenges of this critical sector. A wide spectrum of commodities were discussed ranging from the well-known, such as gold, diamonds, tin, tungsten, tantalum, and coloured stones, to those that have yet to receive significant attention, such as Development Minerals like, sand, gravel, and clay.

ASM18 was an initiative of the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme organised by the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, European Union, United Nations Development Programme, and The Government of Zambia, with the support of The World Bank, The African Union, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development, and German Cooperation.