Day 1: Country Session – Ghana

The Ghana session at Growth Week 2014 focused on Natural Resource Management in Ghana, particularly, Small-Scale Mining. In the first part of the session the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Barbara Serwaa Asamoah presented the policy questions and challenges in the Management of Natural Resources in Ghana. She indicated that small-scale mining is a very important part of the economy making up 34% of total mining in 2013 and employing over 1 million people in Ghana currently. However, it presents a lot of environmental, social, security and economic challenges for the country and in spite of an elaborate legal framework in place, compliance is a major problem that government faces. She therefore called on IGC researchers to help her ministry to understand and experiment on ways to deal with the problem. Mr Franklyn Ashiadey, a Principal Economist at the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) also highlighted questions on the role of mining in the development history of Ghana and going forward; a cost benefit analysis for mining in Ghana; how to achieve fairness in the distribution of revenue from mining; how to improve mining revenue collection in Ghana.

In the second part of the session Professor Gavin Hilson presented the findings from an ongoing IGC study on “The informalisation of Ghana’s small-scale gold mining in Ghana: drivers and policy implications”. The study found that part of the problem of small scale and illegal mining in Ghana is due to the difficulties with obtaining a licence, inappropriate institutional support and lack of land. He recommended that more land should be made available by taking it from concession holders who are not using it. He also recommended that the licensing process be streamlined and made easier, reducing the incentive to mine illegally. Professor Gordon Crawford also presented findings from his IGC study on “The impact of Chinese involvement in small-scale gold mining in Ghana” which found that small-scale mining has transformed to large-scale mining with huge impacts on the environment and the communities. He showed that while some of the economic impacts are positive, there are mostly negative impacts socially with conflict and security issues in the communities. He also recommended a review of the small-scale mining laws of Ghana to take account of the transformation that has taken place as a result of Chinese involvement.

By Henry Telli, Country Economist, IGC Ghana