A comparison of licensed and un-licensed artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGM)
Background: Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) represents one of the most hazardous work
environments. While formalization of this sector has been suggested (e.g., Minamata Convention) as a means to
improve working conditions, we are unaware of empirical evidence that supports this notion.
This study aimed to compare sociodemographic profiles, work profiles, and injury rates among miners working in
licensed versus un-licensed ASGM sites.
Methods: In the Tarkwa mining region of Ghana, 404 small-scale miners were recruited in 2014 and interviewed
regarding their occupational injury experiences over the preceding 10 years. Workers were drawn from 9 mining sites,
of which 5 were licensed and 4 were not licensed.
Results: Sociodemographic characteristics of miners from the two groups were relatively similar. Those currently working
in an un-licensed mine have spent more time in the ASGM sector than those currently working in a licensed mine (94 vs.
70 months). Miners working in an un-licensed site tended to experience more injury episodes (e.g., 26% vs. 8% had 3 or
more injury events) and not use personal protective equipment during the time of an injury (92% indicated to not using
vs. 73%) when compared to miners working in a licensed site. A total of 121 injury episodes were recorded for 2245 person
years of ASGM work. The injury rate for those working in un-licensed mines was 5.9 per 100 person years (59 injuries in 995
person years) versus 5.0 (62 injuries in 1250 person-years) in the licensed mines. When focusing on the male miners, there
was a significant difference in injury rates between those working in a licensed mine (4.2 per 100 person years) versus an
un-licensed mine (6.1 per 100 person years).
Conclusions: These findings advance our understanding of injuries amongst ASGM workers, and help identify important
differences in socio-demographics, work profiles, and injury rates between miners working in a licensed versus
and un-licensed site. The findings suggest that certain working conditions in a licensed site may be safer.
Injury Profiles Associated with Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Tarkwa, Ghana
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is inherently risky, but little is
known about mining-associated hazards and injuries despite the tremendous growth
worldwide of ASGM and the benefits it offers. The current study aimed to characterize the
physical injuries associated with ASGM in Ghana to guide policy formulation. A
cross-sectional survey was carried out in the Tarkwa mining district of the Western Region
of Ghana in 2014. A total of 404 small-scale miners were recruited and interviewed regarding
their occupational injury experiences over the preceding 10 years using a paper-based
structured questionnaire. Nearly one-quarter (23.5%) of the miners interviewed reported
getting injured over the previous 10 years, and the overall injury rate was calculated to be
5.39 per 100 person years. The rate was significantly higher for women (11.93 per
100 person years) and those with little mining experience (e.g., 25.31 per 100 person years
for those with less than one year of work experience). The most injury-prone mining
activities were excavation (58.7%) and crushing (23.1%), and over 70% of the injuries were
reported to be due to miners being hit by an object. The majority of the injuries (57%) were
lacerations, and nearly 70% of the injuries were to the upper or lower limbs. Approximately
one-third (34.7%) of the injuries resulted in miners missing more than two weeks of work.
One-quarter of the injured workers believed that abnormal work pressure played a role in
their injuries, and nearly two-fifths believed that their injuries could have been prevented,
with many citing personal protective equipment as a solution. About one-quarter of the
employees reported that their employers never seemed to be interested in the welfare or
safety of their employees. These findings greatly advance our understanding of occupational
hazards and injuries amongst ASGM workers and help identify several intervention points.
Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana—Part 1: Human Health Review
This report is one of three synthesis documents produced via an integrated
assessment (IA) that aims to increase understanding of artisanal and small-scale gold
mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities surrounding ASGM, an IA framework
was utilized to analyze economic, social, health, and environmental data, and co-develop
evidence-based responses with pertinent stakeholders. The current analysis focuses on the
health of ASGM miners and community members, and synthesizes extant data from the
literature as well as co-authors’ recent findings regarding the causes, status, trends, and
consequences of ASGM in Ghana. The results provide evidence from across multiple
Ghanaian ASGM sites that document relatively high exposures to mercury and other heavy
metals, occupational injuries and noise exposure. The work also reviews limited data on
psychosocial health, nutrition, cardiovascular and respiratory health, sexual health, and
water and sanitation. Taken together, the findings provide a thorough overview of human
health issues in Ghanaian ASGM communities. Though more research is needed to further
elucidate the relationships between ASGM and health outcomes, the existing research on
plausible health consequences of ASGM should guide policies and actions to better address
the unique challenges of ASGM in Ghana and potentially elsewhere.
EFFECT OF GALAMSEY ACTIVITIES ON WATER BODIES AND LIVELIHOODS
Problems associated with mineral exploration especially illegal mining or Galamsey include;soil degradation,removal of vegetation cover,pollution by chemical compounds,destruction of food crops,depletion of forest reserves and,destruction of water bodies.
EFFECT OF GALAMSEY ACTIVITIES ON WATER BODIES
Climate Change and Human activities pose serious threat to our Water Resources
Galamsey activities cause the single most serious threat to our water bodies and the environment.
Galamsey activities result in high turbidity levels and subsequently the cost of water treatment by GWCL.
Galamsey activities affect Livelihoods: Education, Health, Natural Resources, Human lives and the Moral Fiber of the Society.
The current fight against galamsey has brought about improvement in the water quality in our river bodies.
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Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 900)
The object of the law is to amend the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).The amendments are two-fold, first to enable the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to make regulations to prescribe a rate for royalty payments and the second is to provide for the confiscation of equipment used in illegal small scale mining.
With regard to the payment of royalties, the law amends section 25 of Act 703 to remove the fixed rate of five per cent in respect of royalty payment and provides that the payment has to be made to the Republic at the rate, and in a manner as prescribed. The payment of royalty is in respect of minerals obtained from mining operations.
Just like Act 703, the law criminalizes illegal small scale mining, popularly known as galamsey, but unlike the old law, it criminalizes mining by foreigners and Ghanaian without a permit.