In pictures: a dialogue for action on mining in Ghana

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) makes an important contribution to Ghana's economy. But how can the sector address its many problems? This photo gallery documents the lively conversations about a future for Ghanaian ASM at an "action dialogue" organised by IIED and partners earlier this year.

Gabriela Flores's picture
Guest blog by
6 September 2016

Gabriela Flores is a consultant working with IIED on artisanal and small-scale mining

Women from a mining community talk with Amina Tahiru, a member of the Learning and Leadership Group (Photo: Gabriella Flores)

Approximately 1.1 million Ghanaians directly participate in ASM (subscription required), while a further 4.4 million are considered to be dependent. But despite efforts at regulation and reform, a wide range of problems still affect the sector.

IIED and the Ghanaian NGO Friends of the Nation (FoN) brought together some 60 ASM stakeholders in the mining district of Tarkwa in south-west Ghana to explore how best to improve ASM and make it a safer, more responsible sector.

Participants visited several mining sites to speak with miners and local communities, before gathering for a research-based dialogue. The meeting also saw the formation of a Learning and Leadership Group, which will take the discussions forward and guide a process of participatory reform for the ASM sector in Ghana.

The photos from the event illustrate the lively exchanges and the energy and commitment which people brought to the event.

Gabriela Flores ( is a consultant working with IIED on artisanal and small-scale mining.

Gallery: highlights from the mining dialogue

The gallery below shows a selection of images from the mining dialogue. Click on the image below to begin the slideshow and use the arrows at the bottom left to move through the images.

Delegates visit the Nsuaem Top mine. Dialogue participants spoke with mineworkers at the Nsuaem mine in Tarkwa. Estimates suggest that 1.1 million Ghanaians directly participate in ASM, while a further 4.4 million are considered to be dependent (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Workers at the Nsuaem Top mine, Tarkwa Region, Ghana (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Participants met residents of Kanyonko, a local community next to the Nsuaem Top mine. Mining can be a source of much-needed employment and income for local communities where there are few economic alternatives (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Women play a major role in the ASM sector in Ghana, as they do in all countries where ASM takes place. The meetings offered the chance to share ideas about improving working conditions and community wellbeing (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Amina Tahiru (in the white shirt) is a small-scale mine owner and coordinator of women in mining at the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM). She spoke with women mineworkers at the Dakete Gold Mine in Tarkwa (Photo: Friends of the Nation)A mineworker shows visitors the gold amalgam processed at the Dakete Gold Mine. Small-scale gold mining can be a source of local sustainable development, but its full potential is seldom realised (Photo: Caroline Digby)The dialogue brought together people from a range of backgrounds. Amani Mhinda, left,  is executive director of Haki Madini, a Tanzanian NGO dedicated to support ASM communities. Georgette Barnes, centre, is a mining equipment supplier for large scale mining and the chair of Women in Mining Ghana (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Toni Aubynn, right, is chief executive of the Minerals Commission of Ghana, the country's mining sector regulator and promoter of investment and good practice. He chairs the Learning and Leadership group which has been set up as a result of the dialogue process (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Workers at the Dakete Gold Mine explain health and safety procedures in a powdering station. The IIED dialogue aimed to engage key stakeholders, including mineworkers, in a conversation about the future of ASM mining in Ghana (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Dialogue participants met with local chiefs at Kanyonko, a local community next to the Nsuaem Top mine. Chiefs often negotiate the contribution of mining operations in their lands on behalf of the community (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Ghana's Learning and Leadership Group includes representatives of government, business, small-scale mining, women's groups and academia. They were tasked by stakeholders at the dialogue event with implementing the roadmap for participatory sector reform (Photo: Friends of the Nation)Dialogue participants and women mineworkers at Dakete Gold Mine. Women fulfil a variety of roles in ASM operations, including mining engineering, environmental supervision, maintenance of safety gear, catering and other key tasks (Photo: Friends of the Nation)