Global

  • Ghana’s gold diggers: Land and rivers laid to waste

    Jon Spaull

    09/02/16
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The second in a series of four films on illegal gold mining investigates its devastating impact on the nearby environment.  

Large swathes of Ghana’s gold belt have been laid to waste in the search for the precious metal by illegal small-scale miners. Cocoa plantations have been cut down and rivers polluted with heavy metals, including mercury, used to extract gold.
 
In this, the second of a four-part film series on illegal gold mining in Ghana, we investigate the impact of the galamseys — as these miners are known locally — on the environment.
 
We meet a mining inspector, who explains how the activity is forbidden near water bodies, and why this is where a lot of illegal mining occurs. We talk to an expert about the link between mercury contamination and the skin ulcers that often afflict the miners, and we meet a miner as he handles mercury with his bare hands to extract gold from a river bed. 

Watch the rest of the film series here: 


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Part 1: Scramble comes at a high cost
In the first in a series of four films, we meet local ‘galamsey’ miners and investigate the business of illegal gold mining. 


 


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Part 3: Chinese miners bring conflict
Part three of a four-part film series on illegal gold mining focuses on the impact of foreign miners. 


 


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Part 4: Could they be legalised?
The last in our film series on illegal mining asks what can be done to limit its harm and inflate its benefits.

 



See our article series Mining with impact here