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Sustainable small-scale gold mining in Ghana: setting and strategies for sustainability

By
P. A. Eshun
P. A. Eshun
Mining Engineering Department, University of Mines and Technology, PO Box 237, Tarkwa, Ghana (e-mail: arrojaeshun@yahoo.co.uk)
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Abstract

In Ghana, small-scale/artisanal gold mining has been on-going for more than a century. Artisanal mining has been the support for the rural people who more often than not are forced to sacrifice their farmlands and means of livelihood for large-scale mining operations. In order to reduce the activity of small scale/artisanal during the colonial era, laws were passed to bar indigenous operators from dealing in gold ore, amalgam, bullion, retorted gold, slags, concentrates and mercury. In recent years, however, under the auspices of the German non-governmental agency, Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the World Bank, the Ghana government has undertaken a number of initiatives to formalise and regulate small-scale mining operations. Unfortunately, small-scale mining activities are characterised by lack of capital and minimum use of appropriate technology in the mining and treatment of the minerals into finished products. In addition, the industry is associated with land degradation and water pollution. This paper explores possible strategies that aim to make small-scale gold mining in Ghana more sustainable (i.e. more efficient, less destructive to the environment and more meaningful to the operators and the country as a whole). The roles of stakeholders in the small-scale mining industry in Ghana are also identified. It concludes that, for sustainable small-scale mining, a pragmatic synergistic approach must be adopted by all stakeholders in the organisation, regularisation, training and support of small-scale mining operations in Ghana. Mineable lands need to be delineated, illegal operators should be organised and brought under a responsible umbrella, small-scale mining operators should be supported with funds, technology and education, and alternative livelihood programmes must be pursued in mining communities.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World

B. R. Marker
B. R. Marker
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, UK
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M. G. Petterson
M. G. Petterson
British Geological Survey, UK
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F. McEvoy
F. McEvoy
British Geological Survey, UK
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M. H. Stephenson
M. H. Stephenson
British Geological Survey, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
250
ISBN electronic:
9781862394988
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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