Advancing Free-Market Based Solutions for Sustainable Mining in Ghana: Insights from YAFO Policy Dialogue

The mining sector in Ghana plays a significant role in the country’s economy, particularly in the production of gold. To address the challenges and promote sustainability in the mining industry, the YAFO Institute organized a policy dialogue focused on free market-based solutions for sustainable mining in Ghana. One of the notable presentations during the event was on artisanal mining (ASM), delivered by the esteemed Dr. Albert Kobina Mensah. This article provides an overview of the policy dialogue, highlighting key insights from Dr. Mensah’s presentation.

During the event, Dr. Albert Kobina Mensah shed light on the significant contribution of artisanal mining to the total gold production in Ghana. He presented data showcasing ASM’s role in the country’s gold production between 1990 and 2016, underscoring its importance as a sector within the mining industry.

Dr. Mensah further discussed the reforms that have been implemented to address the challenges associated with artisanal mining in Ghana. These reforms aim to enhance sustainability, minimize environmental impact, and ensure the safety and well-being of miners. The presentation also highlighted the implications of the ban on artisanal mining, emphasizing the need for comprehensive strategies that consider both economic and social factors.

One of the key areas of focus in Dr. Mensah’s presentation was the sustainability of the ban on informal mining. He delved into the complexities surrounding the ban and its potential long-term effects on the livelihoods of artisanal miners and the communities dependent on the sector. Dr. Mensah stressed the importance of exploring alternative livelihood options to mitigate the socio-economic impacts caused by the ban. 

The presentation offered insights into the concept of alternative livelihoods as a solution to address the challenges faced by artisanal miners. Dr. Mensah discussed the importance of providing training and support for transitioning from artisanal mining to alternative income-generating activities. He highlighted successful case studies that have demonstrated the potential for sustainable economic opportunities outside of traditional mining. He emphasized that alternative livelihood programs should be economically viable to rake in income that is either same or close to income generated by galamsey activities.

The event which took place on 25th May 2023 and was organized by the YAFO Institute provided a platform for discussing free market-based solutions for sustainable mining in Ghana. Dr. Albert Kobina Mensah’s presentation on artisanal mining shed light on the sector’s contribution to gold production, the reforms implemented, the implications of the ban, and the importance of exploring alternative livelihood options. The event served as a valuable resource for stakeholders in the mining industry, fostering dialogue and promoting a holistic approach to sustainable mining practices in Ghana.

The policy dialogue provided the forum for other stakeholders and participants to contribute to the galamsey challenge in Ghana. The participation of stakeholders presented a voice uniquely different from politicizing the livelihood issue of galamsey. 

By actively engaging with experts and organizations like YAFO Institute, Ghana can continue to foster dialogue and develop innovative solutions that balance economic growth with environmental preservation and social well-being in the mining sector. It is through collaborative efforts that the goal of achieving sustainable mining practices in Ghana can be realized.

Article by

Barbara Ofosu

She is the Campus Convener at YAFO Institute. She holds BSC. Psychology graduate of the University of Cape Coast.

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