Artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Ghana. Evidence to inform an Action Dialogue
Ghana’s artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector continues to grow in size and significance. Its contribution to wealth creation, employment and the economy make it one of the nation’s most important livelihood activities, directly employing an estimated one million people and supporting approximately 4.5 million more. Yet the majority of miners in Ghana operate informally, without the security of a licence. Formalising Ghana’s ASM sector is therefore a significant, timely and pressing developmental opportunity that must now be realised.
In January 2016 Ghana hosted a multi-stakeholder ‘action dialogue’ on artisanal and small-scale mining. This was the first of a global dialogue series on ASM, planned by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to facilitate the rights-based formalisation of ASM within a more inclusive and responsible mining sector. This paper provides background research on ASM in Ghana to inform the dialogue — giving an overview of the sector, identifying the barriers to formalisation, and offering some actionable ‘ways forward’.