Identification of Response Options to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) in Ghana via the Delphi Process

September 2015

This article describes a modified Delphi approach in which 27 multi-disciplinary academics and 22 stakeholders from Ghana and North America were polled about ways to address negative effects of small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. 

The Delphi technique is a means of facilitating discussion among experts in order to develop consensus, and can be used for policy formulation. This article describes a modified Delphi approach in which 27 multi-disciplinary academics and 22 stakeholders from Ghana and North America were polled about ways to address negative effects of small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. In early 2014, the academics, working in disciplinary groups, synthesized 17 response options based on data aggregated during an Integrated Assessment of ASGM in Ghana. The researchers participated in two rounds of Delphi polling in March and April 2014, during which 17 options were condensed into 12. Response options were rated via a 4-point Likert scale in terms of benefit (economic, environmental, and benefit to people) and feasibility (economic, social/cultural, political, and implementation). The six highest-scoring options populated a third Delphi poll, which 22 stakeholders from diverse sectors completed in April 2015. The academics and stakeholders also prioritized the response options using ranking exercises. The technique successfully gauged expert opinion on ASGM, and helped identify potential responses, policies and solutions for the sector. This is timely given that improvement to the ASGM sector is an important component within the UN Minamata Convention.