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Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana-Part 2: Natural Sciences Review.

Rajaee M, Obiri S, Green A, Long R, Cobbina SJ, Nartey V, Buck D, Antwi E, Basu N - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2015)

Bottom Line: This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana.Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples.Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. mrajae@umich.edu.

ABSTRACT
This paper is one of three synthesis documents produced via an integrated assessment (IA) that aims to increase understanding of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities surrounding ASGM, an integrated assessment (IA) framework was utilized to analyze socio-economic, health, and environmental data, and co-develop evidence-based responses with stakeholders. This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana. It reviews dozens of studies and thousands of samples to document evidence of heavy metals contamination in ecological media across Ghana. Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead exceeded guideline values in 67%, 17%, and 24% of water samples, respectively. Other water quality parameters near ASGM sites show impairment, with some samples exceeding guidelines for acidity, turbidity, and nitrates. Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change. Though more research is needed to further elucidate the long-term impacts of ASGM on the environment, the plausible consequences of ecological damages should guide policies and actions to address the unique challenges posed by ASGM.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Satellite photos of Tarkwa, Western Region, from December 1986 (A), January 2002 (B), and January 2015 (C), depicting rapid gold mining development. Images from Google Earth (2015).
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ijerph-12-08971-f011: Satellite photos of Tarkwa, Western Region, from December 1986 (A), January 2002 (B), and January 2015 (C), depicting rapid gold mining development. Images from Google Earth (2015).

Mentions: The liberalization of gold mining in particular brought an influx of foreign investments and increased gold production. Mining was permitted and supported in forest reserves through guidance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in the 1980s [90], and mining leases in forest reserves were allowed in 2003 [69]. Much of the forest loss due to mining comes from large-scale mines, but small-scale mines can also have detrimental impacts and often occur in tandem with large-scale mines, such as in Tarkwa, in the Wassa West District (Figure 11) [90].


Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana-Part 2: Natural Sciences Review.

Rajaee M, Obiri S, Green A, Long R, Cobbina SJ, Nartey V, Buck D, Antwi E, Basu N - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2015)

Satellite photos of Tarkwa, Western Region, from December 1986 (A), January 2002 (B), and January 2015 (C), depicting rapid gold mining development. Images from Google Earth (2015).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4555259&req=5

ijerph-12-08971-f011: Satellite photos of Tarkwa, Western Region, from December 1986 (A), January 2002 (B), and January 2015 (C), depicting rapid gold mining development. Images from Google Earth (2015).
Mentions: The liberalization of gold mining in particular brought an influx of foreign investments and increased gold production. Mining was permitted and supported in forest reserves through guidance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in the 1980s [90], and mining leases in forest reserves were allowed in 2003 [69]. Much of the forest loss due to mining comes from large-scale mines, but small-scale mines can also have detrimental impacts and often occur in tandem with large-scale mines, such as in Tarkwa, in the Wassa West District (Figure 11) [90].

Bottom Line: This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana.Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples.Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. mrajae@umich.edu.

ABSTRACT
This paper is one of three synthesis documents produced via an integrated assessment (IA) that aims to increase understanding of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities surrounding ASGM, an integrated assessment (IA) framework was utilized to analyze socio-economic, health, and environmental data, and co-develop evidence-based responses with stakeholders. This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana. It reviews dozens of studies and thousands of samples to document evidence of heavy metals contamination in ecological media across Ghana. Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead exceeded guideline values in 67%, 17%, and 24% of water samples, respectively. Other water quality parameters near ASGM sites show impairment, with some samples exceeding guidelines for acidity, turbidity, and nitrates. Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change. Though more research is needed to further elucidate the long-term impacts of ASGM on the environment, the plausible consequences of ecological damages should guide policies and actions to address the unique challenges posed by ASGM.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus