ARTISANAL AND SMALL−SCALE MINING IN WASSA AMENFI EAST DISTRICT, A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana has been in existence as far back as pre-colonial era. The industry which is mostly controlled by Ghanaians is highly unregulated pre 1987 (Hilson, 2001). However, because of dwindling state of the economy, the government under the auspices of the German NGO; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the World Bank, decided to legalize small-scale mining as part of Economic Recovery Policies (ERP), allowing individuals to mine minerals in both mechanized and un-mechanized manner. Several laws were enacted to strengthen this policy. Despite the laws, illegal mining has been going on unabated in the country causing several environmental destructions.
This study was carried out using Wassa Amenfi East district as a case study to determine (1) the impact(s) of legalizing small-scale mining in the country using the three principles (pillars) of sustainable development (economy, social and environmental) as indicators. (2) The perception and preference of the local population between exploitation of minerals for economic growth and conservation of natural environment.
It was discovered that small scale mining has had an insignificant impact on the district/individuals economy while the district have suffered various degrees of environmental degradation, water pollution, deforestation, heavy metal contamination, loss of farm land, etc.
Ghana is richly endowed with mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, manganese, bauxite, clays, kaolin, mica, columbite-tantalite, feldspar, chrome, silica sand, quartz, salt etc, (Draft National Mining Policy of Ghana, 2010). Artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana has been in existence as far back as pre-colonial era (Hilson, 2001). Citizens from different communities (including Wassa Amenfi East) engaged in this activity as a means of supporting themselves as well as to make provisions for their family needs (Awumbila & Tsikata, 2007). However, artisanal and small-scale mining which is locally called “galamsey” were said to be illegal in the country, and those who engage in it do it secretly or out of desperation for survival.
But recently (1987), Ghana government under the auspices of the German NGO Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the World Bank, decided to legalize small-scale mining as part of Economic Recovery Policies (ERP), allowing individuals to mine minerals in both mechanized and un-mechanized manner, (Draft National Mining Policy of Ghana, 2010).