It formulates policies and grants licenses for mining and mineral exploration. Without human intervention, it may take years or decades for the land to become usable again. Armah FA, Luginaah IN, Taabazuing J, Odoi JO (2013) Artisanal gold mining and surface water pollution in Ghana: have the foreign invaders come to stay?. Results from the field observations in the study area revealed that major rivers in the area such as Ankobra and Asesree, which used to serve as the main sources of water for domestic purpose in the surrounding townships, had been heavily polluted by mining activities (Plate 2 and Plate 3), especially those of illegal small-scale mining (popularly known as ‘galamsey’). [12] found soil organic carbon (SOC) content of Golden Star Resources Prestea/Bogoso mined area at 0.14 %, which is below the accepted level of SOC of soil fertility, giving an indication of disruption of ecosystem functioning and loss of litter layer due to mineral mining. Mining comes with significant baggage, starting with environmental degradation and pollution. increased acidity and heavy metal contamination that can destroy wildlife and This can be viewed as strength of the process. © 2021 Get Green Now. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992) Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. without it, mining sites can’t truly recover. even more ambitious rehabilitation plans are focused on the best possible It operates under the purview of the Ministry of Mines [24]. Environmental hazards are present during every step of the open-pit mining process. For instance, a study by [37] in Prestea, found high levels of arsenic and antimony concentrations in the rivers ranging from 0.90 – 8.25 ppm and 0.09 – 0.75 ppm respectively, far exceeding the World Health Organizations recommended values of 0.01 and 0.005 ppm respectively. Concerns include: Waste rock disposal areas are usually located as close to the mine as possible to minimize haulage costs. These potential impacts are recognized and addressed in current mining operations as well as in some former mining operations by reclaiming areas of physical disturbance to prevent erosion, stabilizing soils containing metals or chemicals to prevent unwanted metal releases into the environment, preventing and/or treatin… directly addressed. For In addition, surface mining which is the dominant method of mining used by small-scale mining artisans is cost effective due to its minimal capital and technical investments. Table 1 presents historically, the contribution of the mining sector to government revenue, value added and employment in Ghana. stopped operations, packed up its equipment and moved on. Since the mining industry is still expanding, comprehensive information on the effects of mining activities on the environment is needed. This agrees with [9], who found out that in 12 mining communities around the Tarkwa municipality of Ghana who are involved in illegal mining, these illegal miners complained that the process for acquiring licenses is rather cumbersome, long and frustrating. He indicated that cyanide spills and leakages by mining companies such as Teberebie Goldfields Ltd and Ashanti Goldfield Company Ltd (now AngloGold Ashanti) resulted in polluting the Anikoko, Angonabe, Bodwire and Assaman rivers, all in the western region of Ghana. Erosion, groundwater depletion and also loss of biodiversity is caused by the mining effect. Macdonald FKF, Lund M, Blanchette M, Mccullough C (2014) Regulation of Artisanal Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM ) in Ghana and Indonesia as Currently Implemented Fails to Adequately Protect Aquatic Ecosystems. In the rural localities, almost 100 percent of the households (97.9%) are agricultural households. Effective community participation will therefore protect project interests, promote democracy, improve project legitimacy, increase accountability of projects, enhance project quality, enhance effectiveness of the EIA process, reduce conflicts associated with mining projects between mining companies and the affected communities, and help in effective environmental decision makingand thereby ensures the sustainability of mining activities. result, many are left alone to pollute the nearby environment for years or even The paper concluded that major rivers in the region have been heavily polluted, especially by illegal small-scale mining; land in areas surrounding mines has been rendered bare and susceptible to increased erosion and loss of viability for agricultural purposes, among other uses; increased clearing of vegetation for mining areas has adversely altered the hydrological regimes and/or patterns in the western region of Ghana; important soil organisms have been destroyed and stable soil aggregates disrupted and eventually depriving the soil of organic matter and low levels of macronutrients and soil fertility necessary for plant growth and crop production. De-vegetation and defacing of lands: Mining requires removal of vegetation along with underlying soil mantle and overlying rock masses. Low entry barriers for mining companies, ineffective community participation and improper research methods are other weaknesses to environmentally sustainable mining in the region, in addition to weak legislative and institutional frameworks. Manganese, on the other hand, is mined at Nsuta, Western region, by Ghana Manganese Company Limited (GMC), while bauxite is mined at Awaso by Ghana Bauxite Company Limited (GBC). Interviews with some residents in Prestea during the field survey revealed that they are spending huge sums of money to access and treat groundwater (Plate 5) for their domestic use such as drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. Interpretation of Soil Test Results. It accounts for more than 50% of Ghana’s total annual gold production. Aryee BN, Ntibery BK, Atorkui E (2003) Trends in the small-scale mining of precious minerals in Ghana: a perspective on its environmental impact, Journal of Cleaner Production 11(2): 131-140. 1 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF MINING The scale and nature of contemporary mining activities invariably leads to changes in the surrounding environment. The paper mainly focused on the mining activities in Prestea in the western region of the country. At the Holden Mine Superfund Site, for example, more than 100 million metric tons of leftover materials are currently at risk of leaching Mining has several environmental impacts that people around the globe are surprisingly ignorant about. Furthermore, abandoned mining pits by both large and small-scale miners without proper reclamation also lead to further degradation of the landscape [11, 25]. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), established under the Environmental Protection Agency Act of 1994, is responsible for all environmental issues in the country. Obuasi, one of the major mining towns in Ghana, has been described as a ‘hanging town’. Table 2 gives the breakdown of minerals revenue by major mineral types in millions of US Dollars. Mining involves toxic substances like sulfuric acid, cyanide, and solvents to separate and process the mineral from the ore. In addition, three new mining laws were implemented after the legalization of small-scale mining. Ore University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension System (2003). The Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that between 1990 and 2005, gold mining activities in Ghana contributed significantly to land degradation and loss of cultivable land, resulting in a massive loss of forest cover (26%) and arable lands (15-20%) at the Tarkwa, Ayanfuri, Dunkwa, Esaase and Bogoso mining areas in Ghana [13]. Okoh G, Hilson G (2011) Poverty and Livelihood Diversification: Exploring the Linkages between Smallholder Farming and Artisanal Mining in Rural Ghana. In addition, miners typically abandon pits and trenches without properly reclaiming spoils. This book is timely and addresses these concerns in a systematic manner. The Lands Commission provides legal records of issued mining licences and examination of all new applications. The extent of environmental devastation caused by mineral mining in Ghana is well documented [7, 8, 9, 11, 25, 26, 31, 32]. It has two rainfall patterns usually from March to July (major season) and from September to November (minor season) [20]. pledge using 100% electric products over the next few years. 2. A further interview with one former underground mining engineer in Prestea revealed that this area was a major river source that has dried up as a result of vegetation removal and washing of sediments into the river from illegal mining activities. For instance, [12] reported that pH levels in soils in Prestea/Bogoso in the western region of Ghana are as low as 3.96. [17] also indicated that as topsoil is only about 20 cm deep, and contains most of the plants’ available nutrients, the scraping action with bulldozers and other heavy machinery depletes the soils of the fertility and productivity, exposing the subsoil, which are unsuitable for crop production.