Porous borders, mobile migrants and malaria elimination: Estimating population size and movements of artisanal small-scale gold mining workers in Suriname and French Guiana

Frequently asked question


Porous borders and mobile migrant populations present challenges to malaria elimination worldwide. This study estimates the size and migration patterns of mobile migrants engaged in Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining on the Suriname-French Guiana border.

Using a mixed methods approach, including primary data (site visits, head counts, network analysis), and secondary data from 2020-2023, the study shows consistent estimates. Approximately 20,000 individuals are active in gold mining in Suriname, with an additional 11,000 in French Guiana, totaling around 31,000. Population turnover is approximately 10.5%, with 95% being newcomers.

These findings aid malaria elimination efforts and are of importance to any efforts to estimate hard-to-reach (mobile migrant) populations.

For further reading see our study on Mobile Migrant Population in Suriname.


  • Dr. Pierre Pratley, Senior Advisor at KIT Royal Tropical Institute