Ghana: on our way to participatory reform in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector
With an engaged government, private sector and multi-stakeholder engagements already in place with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities, Ghana provides an excellent opportunity for a dialogue that delivers solutions to the challenges facing the ASM sector.
IIED's first in a series of local multi-stakeholder dialogues on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) started in Ghana in autumn 2015.
During a 'visioning workshop' on ASM in April 2015, participants from around the world came together to discuss the pressing challenges and opportunities for ASM, and which countries might benefit most from a locally-driven dialogue process.
After numerous cross-country comparisons, Ghana emerged as the strongest candidate for IIED's first local dialogue on ASM.
Ghana: an overview
Ghana is on the cusp of a real opportunity for change. Mining is a major contributor to the country's economy. In 2014 alone, 34 per cent of the country's gold production came from the ASM sector. In addition, the government is actively pursuing the re-categorisation of its mineral licensing regime, including ASM.
Ghana has also begun prioritising ASM as a national issue and a developmental opportunity to be realised. The country boasts a robust and engaged civil society network, much of which has active efforts in place to support ASM. The dialogue process is helping tap into and support relevant initiatives.
The potential benefits from a more inclusive, sustainable and productive Ghanaian mining sector, with ASM fully integrated, are staggering. Approximately 1.1 million Ghanaians directly participate in ASM, while a further 4.4 million are considered to be dependent on ASM.
A fully functional, formalised and regulated ASM business sector could unlock significant local, regional and national development gains for the country and its people.
Towards participatory sector reform
So far, the dialogue process has supported Ghanaian stakeholders to identify priorities for participatory sector reform – a long-held wish of the authorities. Through research, dialogue and communications, IIED helped stakeholders dissect the problem into manageable pieces, bring the right people together, agree a plan of action and appoint leaders to guide them.
Following six months of research and consultation involving ASM miners, large mining companies, national and local government, academics and civil society, IIED and Ghanaian NGO Friends of the Nation hosted a solution-focused dialogue in January 2016 in the mining district of Tarkwa.
During four days – including two days spent visiting mine sites and mining communities – participants learned from one another, forged new relationships, and decided together what was needed to tackle ASM's pitfalls and realise ASM's potentials.
The strength of this initiative lies in the diversity of its leadership group. Together we can build an ASM sector that is streamlined, respected and generates employment and wealth. We are close to a major change in the way we do artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana. – Toni Aubynn, chief executive officer of the Ghana Minerals Commission
IIED is now supporting a group of Ghanaian government, business and community leaders – Ghana's Learning and Leadership Group – to implement the roadmap for sector reform.
Its priorities include demonstrating the 'business case' for responsible ASM, improving practices within the sector, building support for ASM across government institutions, and ensuring that miners in ASM, particularly women, have a stronger voice in decision making.
Transforming Ghana's ASM sector
|Dialogue event identifying a vision for change||Participants motivated and engaged in thinking through positive solutions for the ASM sector|
|Roadmap for sector reform and 12-month action plan for implementation||Stakeholders have consensus on an agenda for change with practical and implementable next steps|
|National and multi-stakeholder Learning and Leadership Group established||Leadership and enthusiasm for a collaboratively defined and implementable agenda|
|Evidence base gathered using participatory and inclusive research methodologies||Improved information and knowledge on the sector, its challenges and its potential solutions|
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Ghana. Evidence to inform an Action Dialogue, James McQuilken, Gavin Hilson (2016), IIED Report
Photoblog: In pictures: a dialogue for action on mining in Ghana, Gabriela Flores, September 2016
Press release: Inclusive reform for Ghana's small-scale and artisanal mining sector, March 2016
Blog: Can mining dig rural women out of poverty in Ghana?, Amani Mhinda, March 2016
Press release: Leaders join forces for productive and equitable artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana, January 2016
News story: Talking mining in Ghana, January 2016