Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining


Zolnikov, Tara Rava. 2020. “Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining.” Resources Policy 65 (March). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.101561. 

Author: Tara Rava Zolnikov


Artisanal and small-scale gold mining operations have been conducted in Ghana for centuries. Over time, technological advances in the industry occurred and miners separated from large-scale mining and applied this knowledge to small-scale or individual mining practices. In March 2017, the government responded to a media campaign against environmental degradation and placed a ban against water pollution; this ban affected all informal gold mining operations because of the chronic use of mercury in gold extraction, which contributes to water contamination. The unintended consequences of this ban were that approximately 1 million people lost their jobs. A qualitative study was conducted to understand how small-scale gold mining affected female miners and in turn, the implications of the ban on these women and their families. There were 21 illegal female miners interviewed in Akwatia, Ghana. The results from this study confirmed that many female miners used their mining money to support their families. Because the ban blocked mining employment opportunities, the women were forced into unreliable and low-paying alternative jobs and were unable to pay for school fees and food. Unfortunately, while the ban may have improved the environment, it also contributed to adverse outcomes related to women and children's development, like inadequate nutritional needs and school dropout rates; thus, bans like this need to be reconsidered and readapted to address these immeasurable consequences.

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

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