Leaders join forces for productive and equitable artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana

Press release, 28 January 2016

Representatives from across the Ghanaian mining sector have agreed to work together to ensure stronger and more equitable artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in the country.

Members of the Learning and Leadership Group, Georgette Sakyi-Addo and Collins Oppong, observe artisanal and small-scale miners in Tarkwa, Ghana (Photo: Gabriela Flores)

A diverse group of national and community leaders will collaborate to turn Ghana's artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector into an engine for growth and equity.

They include representatives from the Ghana Minerals Commission, government departments, artisanal and small-scale miners, large mining companies, academia and NGOs.

They gathered last week (18-22 January) in Tarkwa, Western Region, along with 60 other stakeholders, for a four-day 'action dialogue', which included visits to ASM sites and research-based debate. 

The dialogue, convened by Friends of the Nation (FoN), with support from the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), was designed to focus on solutions and to spur collaboration in a sector widely considered "challenging" and often perceived negatively by Ghanaian society. 

"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," says Toni Aubynn, chief executive officer of the Minerals Commission.

Access to reliable information on geological assets, good ASM practices and finance sources were part of an emerging “'roadmap' for a more responsible ASM sector, started during the dialogue. There were also calls for more streamlined licensing and operational processes.   

The dialogue participants agreed on the need to explain to the wider Ghanaian society how ASM can be a force for positive change in the country. The need for improvements in the sector's current practices, to recognise the role of women and the need to empower the most vulnerable communities, was also widely agreed.  

"The change needs to come from within ourselves," says Amina Tahiru, small-scale miner and coordinator of women in mining at the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM). "We need to make the effort as miners to work responsibly so we can improve our image. We must not ignore the role of women as part of this process."

Contact

Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Friends of the Nation – email: comms@fonghana.org; Tel: +233-24-4055951 or press@iied.org.

Photographs are available upon request.

Notes to editors

  • IIED's global programme of action dialogues for ASM supports national dialogues in ASM countries across the world. IIED aims to foster multi-stakeholder collaboration through dialogue, which leads to better understanding, roles and relations between the key sector stakeholders. As global convenor, IIED works to influence and share findings in key international forums to ensure that international policymaking is informed by local realities.
  • Friends of the Nation is a Ghanaian NGO that works on natural resource governance and management through research and advocacy on sustainable development. Through its work the organisation has engaged with and supported different stakeholders, including communities, NGOs, government and industry
  • A group of eight leaders have formed a learning and leadership group that, spurred and supported by the action dialogue, will guide and lead a process of change for the ASM sector in Ghana. The members of this group are: Nii Adjetey Kofi-Mensah, ASM Africa Network (ASMAN); prof. Richard Amankwah, University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa; Godwin Armah, GNASSM; Dr. Toni Aubynn, Ghana Minerals Commission; Collins Oppong, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana; Georgette Sakyi-Addo, mining equipment supplier and chair of Women in Mining, Ghana; Robert Siaw, Goldfields Ghana Ltd; and Amina Tahiru, small-scale miner and GNASSM.
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