An Integrated Assessment Approach to Address Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana

September 2015

This paper describes the specific activities undertaken as part of an integrated assessment on artisanal and small-scale gold mining activities in Ghana.

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is growing in many regions of the world including Ghana. The problems in these communities are complex and multi-faceted. To help increase understanding of such problems, and to enable consensus-building and effective translation of scientific findings to stakeholders, help inform policies, and ultimately improve decision making, we utilized an Integrated Assessment approach to study artisanal and small-scale gold mining activities in Ghana. Though Integrated Assessments have been used in the fields of environmental science and sustainable development, their use in addressing specific matter in public health, and in particular, environmental and occupational health is quite limited despite their many benefits. The aim of the current paper was to describe specific activities undertaken and how they were organized, and the outputs and outcomes of our activity. In brief, three disciplinary workgroups (Natural Sciences, Human Health, Social Sciences and Economics) were formed, with 26 researchers from a range of Ghanaian institutions plus international experts. The workgroups conducted activities in order to address the following question: What are the causes, consequences and correctives of small-scale gold mining in Ghana? More specifically: What alternatives are available in resource-limited settings in Ghana that allow for gold-mining to occur in a manner that maintains ecological health and human health without hindering near- and long-term economic prosperity? Several response options were identified and evaluated, and are currently being disseminated to various stakeholders within Ghana and internationally.