The Effects of Small Scale Gold Mining on Living Conditions: A Case Study of the West Gonja District of Ghana

Mabel A. Hoedoafia, Benjamin Spears Ngmekpele Cheabu, Vida Korang


In recent times, there has been a surge in small scale mining activities in Ghana which has made significant contributions to the national gold output, foreign exchange earnings, and employment among others. This paper investigated the impact of small scale gold mining on the living conditions of the people of the West Gonja District in the Northern Region of Ghana. The research involved: (a) the determination of gender and generation roles in small scale mining activities; (b) the determination of the effect of mining activities on employment, education, health, agriculture and cost of living of the people in the district and (c) The identification of the areas of interventions that will eradicate the negative effects of small scale gold mining in the district. Data of sampled households in four communities in Damongo was gathered and analyzed. The research methods included; semi structured interviews, validated self-administered questionnaires and observations. Sampling of communities and households was done using a combination of stratified and simple random sampling procedures. The study revealed varied effects with respect to small scale miners and the general community. Small scale mining has contributed positively in improving the lives of the people in the form of employment, revenue generation and meeting health, educational and basic family needs. It also confirmed the associated social, and environmental negative effects of small scale mining. The paper concludes that in the absence of a viable alternative source of economic livelihood, the West Gonja District Assembly should organize small scale miners into groups, assist them to acquire equipment needed for their operations and regularly monitor and control their activities.

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