Small-scale miners in Ghana are being advised to form co-operatives to gain mining licenses. Ghana’s minister for lands and natural resources Samuel A. Jinapor encouraged the initiative and asked members of the country’s National Association of Small Scale Miners to go through the due diligence process of obtaining mining licences by organising themselves as co-operatives.
Formalising small-scale mining operations is a priority for the government. It is estimated that between 60-80% of miners operate illegally in Ghana. Mining can also have a negative effect on the environment, particularly when miners use harmful technologies to minimise costs. These include land and rainforest degradation and mercury pollution of water bodies.
Access to financial resources
Forming co-operatives could help small-scale miners access financial resources and employ technologies that are less harmful to the environment, according to a 2020 report by the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Other benefits mentioned in the report include increased revenue from improved production practices, reduced environmental damages, reduced deaths and injuries from accidents, and reduced in-utero exposure to mercury from harmful production practices.
According to the report, more than 200 water bodies within mining districts were found to be heavily polluted by alluvial gold mining operations in Ghana.
The research concludes that mining co-ops can be an effective way of formalising small-scale mining. The mining sector contributes 37% of export revenues and 19 percent of all direct tax payments in Ghana.