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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 160; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020160

Assessing the Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining on the Livelihoods of Communities in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality in Ghana

1
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, P.O. Box AE 1, Atomic, Accra, Ghana
2
Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis, P.O. Box AD 738, Cape Coast, Ghana
3
Directorate Academic Planning and Quality Assurance Unit, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
4
Department of Environmental and Development Studies, Central University College, P.O. Box 2305, Tema, Ghana
5
Department of Environmental Science, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
6
Environmental Protection Agency, P.O. Box M 326, Accra, Ghana
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nil Basu, Susan Keane and Paleah Black Moher
Received: 21 May 2015 / Revised: 21 December 2015 / Accepted: 8 January 2016 / Published: 26 January 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [968 KB, uploaded 26 January 2016]   |  

Abstract

Gold mining has played an important role in Ghana’s economy, however the negative environmental and socio-economic effects on the host communities associated with gold mining have overshadowed these economic gains. It is within this context that this paper assessed in an integrated manner the environmental and socio-economic impacts of artisanal gold mining in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality from a natural and social science perspective. The natural science group collected 200 random samples on bi-weekly basis between January to October 2013 from water bodies in the study area for analysis in line with methods outlined by the American Water Works Association, while the social science team interviewed 250 residents randomly selected for interviews on socio-economic issues associated with mining. Data from the socio-economic survey was analyzed using logistic regression with SPSS version 17. The results of the natural science investigation revealed that the levels of heavy metals in water samples from the study area in most cases exceeded GS 175-1/WHO permissible guideline values, which are in tandem with the results of inhabitants’ perceptions of water quality survey (as 83% of the respondents are of the view that water bodies in the study area are polluted). This calls for cost-benefits analysis of mining before new mining leases are granted by the relevant authorities. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metal; mining impact; integrated assessment; Tarkwa Municipality; risk perception; water quality; social issues; livelihood and economic issues; artisanal gold mining heavy metal; mining impact; integrated assessment; Tarkwa Municipality; risk perception; water quality; social issues; livelihood and economic issues; artisanal gold mining
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Obiri, S.; Mattah, P.A.D.; Mattah, M.M.; Armah, F.A.; Osae, S.; Adu-kumi, S.; Yeboah, P.O. Assessing the Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining on the Livelihoods of Communities in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality in Ghana. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 160.

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