IGC Public Forum on Galamsey in Ghana
- Small-scale illegal mining operations (colloquially known as “galamsey”) are destroying farmlands, forests, and water bodies in Ghana.
- IGC analysis showis that it would cost approximately $250 million to reclaim lands and water bodies destroyed by galamsey based on its studies in the western region.
- This event shared findings from IGC Ghana-sponsored work on the detrimental effects of galamsey with relevant policymakers, chiefs, opinion leaders, and the general public.
- Policy recommendations proposed during the forum included ensuring stricter enforcement of the ban on mining in ecologically sensitive areas, and deploying more enforcement personnel and resources to key galamsey hot spot regions.
- As a result of the forum, the government has taken more concrete, evidence-based steps towards addressing galamsey. Furthermore, media outlets in Ghana were significantly influenced by the forum, and have since raised significant national awareness of the issue.
This IGC-organised public forum took place on 21st February 2017 to share IGC-sponsored research on galamsey in Ghana with relevant stakeholders. IGC analysis has found that uncontrolled activities of galamsey are adversely affecting water bodies, vegetation, wild animals, human health, and safety throughout the country.
The new government administration has declared its commitment to ensuring that small scale mining activities are regulated and undertaken in an environmentally sustainable manner. A major challenge is that there is limited information on the operational types of galamsey and their relative environmental effects, which are necessary for an effective policy response. A related challenge is the limited information on the cost of decommissioning and restoring the degraded sites. This event responded to this demand for evidence to inform the ongoing political debate on galamsey, the Ghanaian government’s policy options and reclamation strategies.
The problem of galamsey has widespread effects on both the environment and livelihoods, therefore this forum drew from a wide range of stakeholders, including those from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Finance, the Minerals Commission, the Forestry Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Chamber of Mines, CSIR-Water Research Institute, researchers from various academic institutions, and media houses.
At the event, researchers presented IGC-sponsored analysis showing that it would cost approximately $250 million to reclaim lands and water bodies destroyed by galamsey based on its studies in the western region. Attendees at the event discussed policy recommendations like ensuring stricter enforcement of the ban on mining in ecologically sensitive areas, and expediting action to eliminate the most harmful forms of galamsey, and deploying more enforcement personnel and resources to key galamsey hot spot regions, among others.
Following the forum, both the media and the government have taken concrete steps to address the galamsey issue. Several media houses have published articles based on the contents presented at the forum, with several outlets coordinating to launch a media coalition against the issue in April 2017. Civil society organisations have also declared to support the campaign against galamsey. Water quality in some galamsey affected areas is now improving, suggesting that government action may be starting to yield positive results.