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.
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.
See our article series Mining with impact here