Have you heard of small scale mining in Ghana? Well, it is a mining activity undertaken by individuals in their own personal accord. These people are not employed by any company and they use their own resources to mine.
Ghana was referred to as the Gold coast, in the pre-colonial times, Ghana was famous for its enormous deposits of gold. To get the gold, you have to mine it. In fact, Ghana has one of the largest known gold deposits lying around in different parts of the country. It was ranked among the top ten countries with the largest gold deposits. Most people opt for small scale mining methods.
Even though small scale mining in Ghana is an activity that has been ongoing since the pre-colonial times, it was legalized in the 80’s. There was no rule as to how to start small scale mining until the process now became legal. Legalization came with its own challenges, one of them being the issue on how to manage small scale mining now that it had the force of law.
Small scale miners now had to acquire permits and relevant documentation for their mining sites. Getting these things became a problem as the process was sluggish and it led to many now reverting to mining without documentation. This then caused the increased cases of illegal mining projects popularly known in Ghana as ‘Galamsey’.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of small scale mining in Ghana?
Advantages of small scale mining in Ghana
Below are the pros of small scale mining
It is a source of employment
According to the World Bank, Ghanaian youth unemployment rate stands at 48%. Therefore, Small scale mining offers the much needed employment opportunities to the youth as it employs almost double the number of miners employed by mining companies.
It slows down the rural to urban migration
Small scale mining projects are mostly located in rural areas. Therefore, people who want to benefit from the trade will have to live or move into in the rural areas and this will help in the de-congestion of major cities.
It Helps increase local purchasing power.
The money that is derived from small scale mining activities is mostly used in the country as opposed to the money made by multinational organizations who send the money to their country of origin.
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It helps boost local economic growth
The money got from small scale mining helps increase cash flow in the economy. This in turn ensures that the local economy is blossoming.
It brings with it investment opportunities
Whenever small scale mining sites come up, they come with several investment opportunities. Shops come up and other businesses soon follow suit.
It helps in the formation of new residential towns
Wherever there is a small scale mining project, there has to be workers. The influx of workers leads to the rise of residential neighborhoods as people construct houses to rent to the miners
Disadvantages of small scale mining in Ghana
Below are the cons of small scale mining
The mining sites are very dangerous
In most cases, the methods used to mine in small scale mines are not the safest. They pose a danger to the workers. It is normal to learn of deaths associated with small mining activities.
They are associated with brain drain
Due to unemployment, youths who have higher learning education credentials including degree holders can be found engaging in small scale mining activities.
Some of the products used in small scale mining are health hazards
Many small scale miners in Ghana use mercury while mining. This mercury ends up in the water sources and the result is health complications and in some cases death.
It is an environmental hazard
Small scale mining projects are in most cases not controlled. They end up causing deforestation
The miners are easily exploited
The facts that small scale mining sites are mostly illegal, miners are easily exploited. They sell their products at very low prices after enduring very high risks.
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