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Ghana ASM Profile

Political Economy & Strategic Standpoints | Social and Environmental Factors | Local linkages | ASM Sites in Ghana

In Ghana, as is the case in the majority of developing countries, the rapid growth in artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector can be attributed to the acute lack of jobs and accompanying poverty nationwide.

It is estimated that while ASM provides direct employment for about 500,000 people; it also contributes substantially to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and foreign exchange earnings. In 2012, the sector produced 1.4 million ounces of gold representing 34% of total gold production in the year compared with only 2% in 1989. A total of about 600,000 carats of diamond representing 100% of total mining extraction in 2008 was extracted by ASM.
Mineral extraction is fundamentally driven by large scale mining operations. However, production of gold by small-scale miners has seen a considerable increase since a law to legalise small-scale mining was enacted in 1989.

Ghana is thus well endowed with substantial mineral resources, the major ones being gold, diamonds, manganese and bauxite. Gold is the predominant mineral produced in the country, accounting for over 90% of all mineral revenues annually over the past two decades.

The country is also endowed with occurrences of little explored or unexploited deposits of industrial minerals including iron ore, limestone, clays (including kaolin), mica, columbite-tantalite (coltan), feldspar, silica sand, quartz, salt, etc. Occurrences of ilmenite, magnetite and rutile have also been documented (Kesse, 1985). Some of these industrial minerals – e.g. brown clays, kaolin and silica sand are being exploited on small scale basis to supply local industries in ceramic, paint and building and construction, respectively. There is also a huge potential for solar salt production but this remains to be fully realized.

Country Mining Vision Status

CMV Processes Underway.

Policies, Laws and Regulations Currently in Effect

Ghana Mines and Minerals Act (Act 703), 2006

Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Framework, 2015

Minerals and Mining Policy of Ghana, 2016

ASM Associations or Cooperatives

I. GNASSM: Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners

II. Women in Mining in Ghana

III. ASMAN: Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Africa-Network

IV. Tarkwa Small Scale Mining Association

ASM Definition Criterion

Nationality; capital investment and number of workers

ASM Licensing

Artisanal: NA(subsumed under SSM)

Small Scale Mining: YES

ASM Minerals or Metals Exploited

Precious Metals Gold

Base Metals Bauxite, Manganese

Precious Stones Diamonds

Development Minerals Granite aggregates, Salt

Mining Code and Regularatory Framework Provisions for Women in ASM

Minerals and Mining Policy of Ghana, 2016;

Guiding principles underpinning the Minerals and Mining policy :

Respecting employee, gender, children's rights and other human rights in mining, and the removal of obstacles to participation in the mining sector on the basis of gender, marital status or disability.

Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Framework, 2015;

6.0 Objectives and Strategies to Address Issues Identified in the ASM Sub Sector

Six main objectives were developed for the matrix.The objectives are :

I. Regulate and Assist ASMs to improve efficiency of their operations

II. Ensure the use of appropriate, safe and affordable techniques in small-scale mining

III. Ensure that Relevant Stakeholders Enforce the Law Reserving Small Scale mining for Ghanaians

IV. Ensure Sustainable Use of Resources (Water, Land, Minerals) by Promoting Integrated Land Use Planning, taking Cognizance of ASMs

V. Develop a more Efficient Taxation System for Artisanal and Small Scale Mining

VI. Discourage any form of gender biases


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Finance and credit

According to the ASM Framework of 2015, government is developing measures to improve access to finance for small-scale miners, including:

• assistance to obtain fair market prices for their minerals by the control of illicit dealings and trading of minerals through appropriate licensing and providing necessary market information and training;

• a range of measures to facilitate access to finance, which may include co-operative savings, pooled equipment leasing arrangements and concessional lending schemes (with special support funding from both local and international sources); and,

• Assistance in business skills training.

Since 2008, the Minerals Commission - out of its own funds - has provided over GH¢700,000 (about $700,000 then) as assistance to several mining cooperatives. The beneficiaries are the Talensi-Nabdam Cooperative in Bolgatanga, Ekomyeya Cooperative in Bibiani, the Konongo Cooperative and Smith Cooperative in Winneba. The Talensi-Nabdam Cooperative for example, used their fund to set up a processing plant for its members. Loans were provided by the Minerals Commission to needy small-scale miners to purchase handheld and mechanized equipment. (Most of the miners were unfortunately unable to pay back the loans. The Ministry of Finance runs the Mineral Development Fund.

Extension services - a phased approach to integration and capacity-building

ASM sites, guide miners on how to comply with law and assist the ASM miners with conflict resolution. Within the same ASM framework of 2015, government will develop measures to encourage the use of appropriate, affordable and safe technology, Government is giving support to the collation and dissemination of information about appropriate technologies, the provision of extension services and demonstration of improved technologies. To mitigate the negative impacts of small-scale mining, Government will disseminate information to raise awareness of health, safety and environmental risks, and will periodically revise and disseminate occupational health and safety guidelines for small-scale mining. The Minister will exercise his authority, in consultation with the Minerals Commission, to designate further areas to be reserved for small-scale mining activity based on technical and financial viability of the areas for small-scale mining activities. To manage land use conflicts in the context of small-scale mining, the Minerals Commission will develop standardized procedures, including adequate advance notice, and community representation in deliberations leading to the designation of areas.

Marketing and quality

The ASM Framework states that government will work with, and encourage, mining companies to collaborate and give support to small-scale miners where it can be established that this will be in the mutual interests of the parties, whilst in seeking to promote the interests of small-scale mining, Government will endeavour to provide advice and support to small-scale miners on forming representative associations.
The Small-Scale Gold Mining Law (PNDC Law 218), the Mercury Law (PNDC Law 217) and the Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation Law (PNDC Law 219) were passed in 1989 to regularise and streamline small-scale gold mining, regulate the use of mercury by small-scale gold miners, and provide official marketing channels for gold produced by small-scale miners. Thus, Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation (PMMC), which purchases gold and diamonds produced by small-scale miners under the Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation Law, has the PMMC purchasing gold mined both legally and illegally – buying agents employed by the PMMC do not discriminate on the basis of a miner’s legal status when purchasing gold. In Ghana, there are some initiatives on value addition of mineral products, especially the production of jewellery. These products are sold domestically and exported to neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, Benin. There are no specific government initiatives for promotion of value addition of ASM produced minerals.