Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (Village Metals Miners) has become part of the livelihood strategy for a large section of the rural population in West & East Africa. In some areas of the country, two out of three households have at least one family member working at an artisanal or small-scale mine. Whether this leads to a de-agrarianization of the rural area or rather to a diversification of livelihood strategies is debated. Using a mixed research methods approach, we analyze the interaction between agriculture and VMM at the household level at four mining sites in the corresponding villages in West & East Africa. We focus, in particular, on how labor and capital are allocated, and how mine workers reinvest their eventual revenues. We find that both mine characteristics and time devoted to mining influence the extent to which livelihood strategies change over time. Mineworkers who fully engage with mining and choose to pursue work at productive mines are the most likely to step up their livelihoods or discontinue agricultural activities. Others who work on less productive mines to complement their income during the dry season are more likely to stagnate or even see their situation worsen.