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Ghana: Analysts argue that banning foreign investment in small-scale gold mining won't mitigate environmental damage

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Author: The Conversation

[此中文翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

“放開加納非法小規模採礦問題的門檻”,2019年9月25日。

小型金礦開採...繼續成為許多低收入加納人的重要謀生手段,對整個經濟具有重要意義... 2006年,少數中國和其他外國礦工來到加納從事金礦開採。然後從2008年開始金價上漲導致了名副其實的淘金熱和大量外國礦工的到來。大多數人在非法的基礎上工作。

我們的研究範圍包括研究小型金礦開採中的衝突,共謀和腐敗,特別是與中國礦工和加納國家有關的問題。我們還研究了中國在加納的非正式淘金熱的影響,以及手工和小規模採金的軍事化和刑事定罪。

我們的研究結果表明,該部門充斥著腐敗。我們還得出結論,面對極低的本地投資和高失業率,關閉外國人參與小規模採礦的做法不太可能……[政府]應該允許這樣做,而不是試圖禁止這種活動,並伴隨這一行動更好的監管...

事態發展的結果是…參與小規模採礦的加納人之間的不平等現像也大大增加了。這包括性別層面,因為婦女,兒童和許多年輕人只能提取機械沖積金礦之後留下的“碎片”。小型採礦業增加的另一個影響是失去了許多英畝的可可農場...另一個後果是對土地和水體的不可估量的環境破壞。溪流和河水被用於採礦,地表和地下水被有害化學物質污染,特別是氰化物和汞用於金加工。

由於汞和柴油污染土地和水資源,加納西部和中部地區的一些村莊已經有居民到城市地區購買香包水和木薯等基本必需品。

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Author: The Conversation

[此中文翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

“放开加纳非法小规模采矿问题的门槛”,2019年9月25日。

小型金矿开采...继续成为许多低收入加纳人的重要谋生手段,对整个经济具有重要意义... 2006年,少数中国和其他外国矿工来到加纳从事金矿开采。然后从2008年开始金价上涨导致了名副其实的淘金热和大量外国矿工的到来。大多数人在非法的基础上工作。

我们的研究范围包括研究小型金矿开采中的冲突,共谋和腐败,特别是与中国矿工和加纳国家有关的问题。我们还研究了中国在加纳的非正式淘金热的影响,以及手工和小规模采金的军事化和刑事定罪。

我们的研究结果表明,该部门充斥着腐败。我们还得出结论,面对极低的本地投资和高失业率,关闭外国人参与小规模采矿的做法不太可能……[政府]应该允许这样做,而不是试图禁止这种活动,并伴随这一行动更好的监管...

事态发展的结果是…参与小规模采矿的加纳人之间的不平等现象也大大增加了。这包括性别层面,因为妇女,儿童和许多年轻人只能提取机械冲积金矿之后留下的“碎片”。小型采矿业增加的另一个影响是失去了许多英亩的可可农场...另一个后果是对土地和水体的不可估量的环境破坏。溪流和河水被用于采矿,地表和地下水被有害化学物质污染,特别是氰化物和汞用于金加工。

由于汞和柴油污染土地和水资源,加纳西部和中部地区的一些村庄已经有居民到城市地区购买香包水和木薯等基本必需品。

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Article
26 September 2019

Ghana: Analysts argue that banning foreign investment in small-scale gold mining won't mitigate environmental damage

Author: Gabriel Botchwey and Gordon Crawford, The Conversation

"Lifting the lid on Ghana's illegal small-scale mining problem", 25 September 2019.

Small-scale gold mining...continues to be an important means of livelihood for many relatively low-income Ghanaians and is highly significant for the economy as a whole...In 2006 small numbers of Chinese and other foreign miners came to Ghana to engage in gold mining. Then a hike in gold prices from 2008 onwards led to a veritable gold rush and the arrival of significant numbers of foreign miners. Most were working on an illicit and illegal basis...

Our research ranged from looking at conflict, collusion and corruption in small-scale gold mining, specifically in relation to Chinese miners and the state in Ghana. We also looked at the impact of China’s informal gold rush in Ghana as well as the militarisation and criminalisation of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Our findings revealed that the sector is rife with corruption. We also conclude that closing off foreign involvement in small-scale mining in the face of extremely low local investment and high unemployment is unlikely to work...Instead of trying to ban the activity, [the government] should allow it, and accompany this with better regulation...

One consequence of the developments was...that inequality among Ghanaians involved in small‐scale mining also increased substantially. This included a gendered dimension, as women, children, and many young people were left to extract the “scraps” left after mechanised alluvial gold mining. Another affect of the rise in small-scale mining has been that many acres of cocoa farms have been lost...Another consequence was incalculable environmental damage to land and water bodies. Streams and rivers being diverted for mining purposes, and surface and ground water was polluted with hazardous chemicals, notably cyanide and mercury for gold processing...

Already in some villages in the western and central regions of Ghana, residents have to travel to urban areas to buy sachet water for drinking and basic staples such as cassava to feed themselves due to mercury and diesel pollution of land and water resources...

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