Ghana is one of the leading producers of gold in the world. Industrialized countries like Australia, Canada and the United States have depended a lot on exploration and extraction of minerals for their economic development. For a developing country like Ghana, mineral production generates income and foreign exchange through exports, and can stimulate local economies through the local purchase of inputs. Minerals, no doubt, could be nature’s blessing available for development and to better the lot of a country’s populace.
In some mining economies, there’s increasing evidence to suggest that the sector has become a greater part of government income and remains the topmost donor with regards to foreign direct investment especially in developing countries. In response to economic and political reforms, the international mining industry has expanded to areas formerly closed to mineral exploration for legal, political and economic reasons allowing mining projects to progress into remote areas of the world.
Despite the importance of the industry to countries like Ghana, many people in the mining communities are opposed to mining because they believe it destroys livelihoods especially farming related activities, causes pollution and leads to mining related diseases. However with the recent decision of the World Bank to approve of an additional financing of US$19.39 million towards the implementation of activities focusing on agricultural drivers of deforestation, by working with cocoa farmers and communities to rehabilitate and protect forest reserves, the livelihood of some of our rural population will be positively affected.
The programme which has already started, will ensure that at least, rural communities in four regions of Ghana, currently affected by the environmental damage and pollution associated with destructive artisanal mining and logging practices, do benefit from a scale-up of the Ghana Forest Investment Programme. It also aims at complementing the above efforts by piloting approaches to and benefits of reclamation of mining sites, which will reduce erosion currently polluting public watercourses and engage the private sector in plantation development to reduce pressure on natural forests.
As Ghana continues to identify more minerals and expands the mining sector, there’s the need for a more comprehensive programme to cover the entire Ghanaian mining community. Mining firms operating in the country are encouraged to learn from the World Bank initiative and increase their efforts do more to protect the communities in which they operate.