Sustainable Community Group Artisanal and Small Scale Mining and Remediation of Degraded/Mercury Polluted sites within the Nadowli/Kaleo District of the Upper West Region of Ghana.
Sustainable Community Group Artisanal and Small Scale Mining and Remediation of Degraded/Mercury Polluted sites within the Nadowli/Kaleo District of the Upper West Region of Ghana.
Statement of Problem
According to the 2010 population census, the Nadowli/Kaleo District has a total population of about 61,561. The Charikpong, Naribu, Dabo, Bobo, Saan, Sanpina and Zukpiri enclave constitute 10 percent of the total population. These communities are located along the flank of the Black Volta basin of which about 85 percent of the total land area is covered by vegetation and underlain by hydrothermal gold deposition.
The whole area has been explored and leased out to Asumah Resources Limited as a concession over a long period of time now. Due to the delay process of this company to develop and mine the area, illegal miners have forced their way in to the area depleting and devastating the whole environment as a results of poor mining practices due to lack of ability to develop and implement a health and safety code of practice. Many small-scale mining operations are hazardous to young people’s health and welfare, involving laborious working conditions, exposure to harmful substances including mercury, and lack of health and safety protections, with deaths from ghetto breakdowns recurrently reported all over the country. The Ghana National Association of Miners articulated its willpower to change from the use of mercury to mercury-free technologies.
1.4 Project rationale
Mercury is use for the extraction the extraction of gold by the small scales miners and mercury is a non-degradable pollutant that cannot be decompose even in 1000 years, as a result destroying the ecosystem of the area, making life unbearable for the above mentioned communities. Mining has been discovered to be one of the main driving forces of economic growth in least developed countries. However, even though the district has a strong mineral (gold deposit) potential, yet the district is rated one of the poorest district in the region. The mining sector is an economically important activity, but also has serious environmental consequences if not properly managed can conflict with the community livelihoods. Mining has been discovered to be one of the main driving forces of economic growth in the world.
It is against this background that this project therefore seeks to help introduce community mining and introduce new mercury free technologies to the ASGM operations within the Black Volta Basin. The project will advocate for blockout for the local communities by engaging the Chiefs, opinion leaders, District Assembly in collaboration with the Mineral’s Commission and Environmental Protection Agency. PA in dialogue with major stakeholders and the operators of this illegal venture for a block out area for indigenes for survival.

This project is an attempt to engage Mineral Commission, University Of Mines And Technology and Environmental Protection Agency and it stakeholders for a discussion on a partnership project to commence a sensitization and education project on the negative impact of the use of mercury in small scale mining. And to suggest alternatives to mercury use in small scale mining operations.
The GEF/SGP Country Programme Strategy for small scale mining stipulates that the technical interventions for mercury reduction will follow two-step incremental approach as follows:
• Step 1: Reduce mercury use and emissions through improved practices, which use less mercury. This increases (or at least maintains) income for miners, increases awareness, improves health through lower exposures, and can build positive relationships needed to go to step 2.
• Step 2: Eliminate mercury use by using alternative mercury-free technologies that increase (or at least maintain) income for miners, and are better for health and the environment

This project has been designed to meet the CPS objectives.
1.4 Project strategies for promoting community mining and reducing mercury in ASGM in the project area

Reductions in mercury use will surely depend on the effectiveness of the other methods in terms of recovery. Borax and the rest.

1.4.1 Borax Method
The Borax also known as sodium borate is a method of artisanal gold mining, which uses borax as a flux to purify gold concentrates. By using borax, no mercury flour is produced, hence gold recovery increases. Is a common component of many detergents?

• The first step after crushing the ore is milling. This takes place in metal drums with hard metal rods or balls. No mercury is added. After milling, the ground-up ore is flushed into a sluice board to pick the heavy metal concentrate.

• The gold material washed through the sluice board runs down over a carpet in a chute, the carpets which traps heavy minerals contained in the slurry. When the carpet is loaded, or full of heavy minerals, it is washed in a bucket. The heavy minerals collected from the carpet are concentrated with a gold pan. A little soap added to the water in the pan helps reduce surface tension so gold flakes sink to the bottom instead of floating away into the tailings. This washing has to be thorough in order to produce a high percentage of gold in the concentrate

• The heavy mineral concentrate is placed in a small piece of plastic with borax and a few drops of water. The plastic is placed in a clay bowl together with several pieces of charcoal, which are then ignited. A hand-powered or electric blower fans the flames, increasing the temperature of the fire. After a few minutes, there it is row gold.

1.4.2 Strategies to rehabilitate degraded landscapes
The process of reconverting disturbed land to its former or other productive uses. It is frequently referred to as land rehabilitation. Mine reclamation is the process of restoring land that has been mined to a natural or economically usable state. Although the process of mine reclamation occurs once mining is completed, the planning of mine reclamation activities occurs prior to a mine being permitted or started. Land reclamation can be achieved with a number of different methods. The simplest method involves simply filling the area with large amounts of heavy rock or with clay and dirt until the desired height is reached. The process is called "infilling" and the material used to fill the space is generally called "infill" wetlands for agricultural use Land reclamation is important to the health and sustainability of the environment and wildlife. When large regions of land are damaged by machinery or other elements, it results in the inability of vegetation, and the wildlife that depends on it, to flourish.
Rehabilitation process be used to repair the impacts of mining on the environment will include:
• Converting once-unusable land into farmland that can be used for growing fruits, vegetables, and grains, and for raising livestock
• To employ irrigation or drainage in order to restore soil that has been damaged through mining, erosion, or earthmoving processes.
• Restore land include the use of fertilizers to change the texture and mineral content of the soil, irrigation, drainage, and flood control.
• Converting an area to a safe and stable condition, to restoring the pre-mining conditions as closely as possible to support the future sustainability of the site;
• Developing designs for appropriate landforms for the mine site;
• Creating landforms that will behave and evolve in a predictable manner, according to the design principles established;

1.4.3 Recovery
Re-vegetation
Re-vegetation is a principal goal of rehabilitation and results in many desirable secondary water quality and aesthetic benefits. Re-vegetation goals are from simple erosion control to the full restoration of complex native communities. Developing a vegetation cover that is permanent should aim at establishing a plant community that will be sustainable without attention or artificial aid, and support native fauna. To extract better results, some ecological variables must be considered while selecting species for plantation. These are; their capacity to stabilize soil, soil organic matter and available soil nutrients, and understory development. In the initial stages of re-vegetation quick growing grasses with short life cycle, legumes and forage crops are recommended. It will improve the nutrient and organic matter content in soil.
Plantation of mixed species of economic importance should be done after 2-3 years of growing grasses. While selecting suitable species for plantation in mine areas, the following considerations have to be taken into account:
• Planting pollutant tolerant species: such as mahogany, neem, teak, cashew and mango
• Fast growing plants with thick vegetation foliage: acasia, and eucalyptus
• Indigenous/exotic plants species with easy adaptability to the locality: Shea, ebony
• Socio economic requirement of the people in the surrounding area: Shea, dawadawa, baobab, moringa, cashew and mango.

Maintenance and Monitoring of Re-vegetated sites
After re-vegetation the site must be monitored and maintained. This should include adoption of preventive measures against slope failure and erosion. Replacement of dead plant species and weed control is also necessary for maintaining a proper species survival. According to WBEP (2010), the aims of monitoring are to:
• assess the environmental situation and risk to the public and the environment
• Reduce/minimize risk and hazard and increase operational safety
• prove the success of mitigation and remedial actions
1.5 Project Objectives and Expected Results
1.5.1 The Primary Objective
The main project objective is to promote community small scale mining and build the capacity of the artisanal miners in gold processing without mercury and support the local communities in remediation of contaminated and degraded lands and to adopt sustainable land management practices that will enhance the environment and provide food security and improve livelihoods.

1.5.2 The primary objective are to

• create awareness on the harmful effects of the wrong use of mercury and promotion of new technologies for sustainable mining without mercury;
• facilitate artisanal and small scale miners training in alternative gold processing technologies that reduce mercury use, emissions and releases;
• support community remediation of degraded mining areas and
• promote alternative livelihoods enterprises to those adversely affected by the mining activities.

1.5.3 Project Outputs

The project would deliver the following outputs:
• 20 small miners trained, certified and supported to adopt good mining practices that protects the land and protects water bodies;
• 50 hectares of degraded land restored through tree planting, wildfires management, natural regeneration, enrichment planting;
• 20 and miners supported to invest in alternative livelihood enterprises and providing market access to products;
• Model Systems and Best Practices in Sustainable Land management in the Nadowli/Kaleo district documented and disseminated to stakeholders.

2.0 DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Output 1: 20 miners trained and supported to adopt good mining practices that protects the land and protects water bodies

1.1 Compile data of small scale miners in the project area

The names, location of small scale miners will be documented as a database for future references. The information will be used to develop monitoring indictors to assess the project performance. The project will conduct urine and blood test of sampled miners to determine the mercury exposure levels.

1.2 Form Association of small scale miners

The Project will organize the miners to form an association to express their views in aspects that concerns their livelihood and existence. In particular the association will use its strength to dialogue with bigger mining companies such as Azumah Resources operating within their communities for a block out area for the indigenes.

1.3 Advocate for a blockout area for the trained miners
The project will assist all the trained miners to obtain the necessary documentation to obtain mining concession according to law. The project will advocate and liaise with traditional landowners, Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Commission and the District Assembly to get the blockout area for small scale mining.

1.4 Organize community fora

A seven member land management committee would be formed. The committee would be trained and empowered to organize periodic community fora for miners to express their views on their operations.

1.5 Train miners to use the appropriate mercury free techniques for gold extraction.

The miners will be taken through a series of workshops to know the available and the most suitable method used for gold extraction. The workshop will also give miners adequate knowledge on the hazardous effect of mercury and a proper / protective way of mining and the use of other suitable chemicals.

1.6 Support District Environmental Management Committee to put in place effective monitoring system of the small scale mining activities.

The miners will be encouraged to identify strategies that best addresses environmental degradation. The Nadowli/Kaleo District Assembly will support the miners to compile bye laws for adoption by the miners.

Output 2 50 hectares degraded land restored through tree planting, wildfires management, natural regeneration, enrichment planting

2.1 Conduct soil analysis in the degraded mining are to determine the levels of mercury residuals in the soil
The project will engage a consultant to take soil samples from different locations for laboratory analysis to determine the mercury. This will enable management to determine the type of interventions to undertake to remediate the polluted sites
2.2 Establish 100,000 capacity tree nursery
The project would establish a 100,000 capacity tree nursery to raise seedlings for transplanting in degraded areas. The species to be planted will be dependent on the level of mercury contamination.

2.3 Identify and demarcate 50 ha degraded lands and put them under natural regeneration and organize enrichment planting

A total of 50 ha of degraded lands in all the degraded lands would be demarcated and put under natural regeneration and enrichment planting. The project will use economic trees such as mangoes and cashews, moringa to restore the degraded lands where the mercury levels are within standards. This will ensure that farmers gets additional income to support their livelihood.

2.4 Establish a 10 hectares multipurpose woodlot and fodder banks

This activity will help reduce the pressure on the forest as a source of fodder for livestock and energy. This will ensure that the trees along the Black Volta River Basin are not depleted. The trees along the Black Volta acts as a canopy for the water

2.5 Assist farmers to undertake erosion control measures in their farms

Farmers in all the project sites would be encouraged to implement erosion control measures on portions of lands in their farms that have eroded using stone bonding and contour farming techniques.

2.6 Embark on intensive wildfire prevention and management

One hundred (100) members of the beneficiary communities would be trained in firefighting and first aid techniques and serve also as watchdog committee to ensure responsible environmental behavior. The squad will also help the communities to formulate their own environmental rules and regulations to govern the environment.

Output 3 30 women miners supported to invest in alternative livelihood enterprises and providing market access to products

3.1 Identify under resourced women miners retrain them in income generating ventures.

The project will identify miners who are ready to abandon the mining venture and retrain them in soap making, honey production, Shea butter processing, small ruminants’ production, piggery, fishing and poultry.

3.2 Identify and support vulnerable and less privileged miners in dry season vegetable farming
The project will support miners who have disengaged themselves from mining activities and support them in dry season farming using water pump to pump water from the Black Volta. This will supplement the income obtained from their farming operations.

3.3 Identify market sources for honey, Shea butter, small ruminants for trained small producers
The project will identify market sources for honey, Shea butter, or oil, moringa leaf powder and oil, poultry, pigs/pork, fish and small ruminants using effective marketing channels such as radio, print media, trade fairs and the internet to gain access to the local
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Zintang Healers Association
Country:
Ghana
Area Of Work:
Chemicals
Operational Phase:
OP6 -Y4 (Jul 18 - Jun 19)
Grant Amount:
US$ 41,800.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 75,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 49,000.00
Project Number:
GHA/SGP/OP6/Y4/CORE/CH/2019/037
Start Date:
2/2019
End Date:
6/2021
Status:
Currently under execution
Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
Mercury is use for the extraction the extraction of gold by the small scales miners and mercury is a non-degradable pollutant that cannot be decompose even in 1000 years, as a result destroying the ecosystem of the area, making life unbearable for the above mentioned communities. Mining has been discovered to be one of the main driving forces of economic growth in least developed countries. However, even though the district has a strong mineral (gold deposit) potential, yet the district is rated one of the poorest district in the region. The mining sector is an economically important activity, but also has serious environmental consequences if not properly managed can conflict with the community livelihoods. Mining has been discovered to be one of the main driving forces of economic growth in the world.
Gender Focus
Small scale mining is male dominated but women equally play key roles at various stages of the gold production value chain. For that reason, project makes conscious attempt to involve both men and women equally in the project implementation. First the community project support committees would be made up of both men and women on equal proposition during project implementation. Men and women would equally participate during workshops, awareness creation and receive equal benefits during alternative livelihoods options. The distribution of items would benefit both women and men equally
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Indicators
Empowerment
Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 1
Empowerment
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 1
Empowerment
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 30
Livehood
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 120
Livehood
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 150
Biophysical
Number of innovations or new technologies developed / applied 2
Biophysical
Number of local policies informed in POPs focal area 3

Grantee Contact

Mr. Mohammed Barry
Phone: +233 24 6395168
Email: zintangb@gmail.com
 

Address

ZINTANG HEALERS ASSOCIATION, P. O. BOX 179
WA , Upper West ,

SGP Country office contact

Dr. George Buabin Ortsin
Phone:
233-242-977980
Email:
Ms. Lois Sarpong
Phone:
+233 505740909
Email:

Address

UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme P.O. Box 1423
Accra, Greater Accra, 233-302