People have been mining gold in Ghana for centuries. Today, artisanal and small-scale gold mining contributes substantially to the country's economy. The sector has witnessed consistent growth over the years and now contributes about a third of the total gold production in Ghana.

planetGOLD project sites in Ghana

ASGM is widely practised in thirteen out of the sixteen regions of Ghana and provides an important source of livelihood for surrounding communities. The biggest ASGM operations occur in Tarkwa, Bibiani, Dunkwa, Asankragwa and Akim-Oda District Centres.  Over 30% of Ghana's gold is produced by ASGM. In 2019 ASGM was estimated to produce approximately 47 tonnes of the precious metal. 

One million people—of whom over 60% are women— are estimated to be engaged directly in ASGM in Ghana. The sector is largely informal and is characterized by significant environmental impacts, including the unsafe use of chemicals such as mercury. In 2019, the sector was estimated to use approximately 50 tonnes of mercury.  Concentrate amalgamation is the most widely used method of gold processing with mercury.

Recent public outcry and media action against illegal mining, commonly referred to as “galamsey,” have given impetus to reform the ASGM sector to maximize social and economic benefits whilst minimizing any associated negative impacts on human health and the environment.

Key Figures from Ghana

  • 1/3 of Ghana’s gold is produced by ASGM

  • 50+ tonnes of mercury are released by ASGM annually

  • 1,000,000 people work directly in ASGM

  • 60% of ASGM workforce are women

Ghana's Approach

The planetGOLD Ghana project aims to minimize the risks posed by mercury use in the ASGM sector by improving sound chemicals management and eliminating pollution hazards, while improving financial inclusion and the transition to the formal economy. The project aims to strengthen national and jurisdictional capacity to enhance Ghana's compliance with the Minamata Convention in accordance with national environmental and formalization policies supporting global platforms on mercury reductions, responsible supply chains and mineral resource governance.

The planetGOLD Ghana project plans to support 55,000 men and 45,000 women in five ASGM districts in the country, and reduce mercury use by nine tonnes over the course of the five-year project. 

Key Strategies

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Optimize formalization of
the ASGM sector 

Financing icon graphic

Promote financial inclusion and
responsible supply chains

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Enhance uptake of
mercury-free technologies

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Share knowledge and support
local capacity building

Other planetGOLD countries