Exploring the potential health and safety issues of artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Ghana; a case study
Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining is a way of life for many individuals living in developing countries, especially Africa. This subsistence form of mining provides many households with an income to provide food and shelter for their families. Although done with good intentions, limited financial resources along with the lack of government capacity to properly regulate small-scale gold mining activities leads to hazardous working conditions that can be detrimental to both human health and the environment. By using a case study approach, this paper explores the current mining techniques being used in rural Ghana to identify the health and safety issues associated with small-scale gold mining and policy options to help streamline the mining process. Although the appropriate regulations exist, much of Ghana’s small-scale gold mining sector is pushed to operate informally which through financial shortcuts exposes miners and the surrounding community to health and safety risks. By identifying the issues at hand, we hope to promote more effective policies that streamline the small-scale gold mining process through active local government cooperation while creating a more sustainable environment and safe workplace for future generations.