Title: Artisanal mining and the quality of water from River Mediabewu in Krobiso in Eastern Region of Ghana
Authors and Affiliations: D.A. Anang1, Edward Antwi1, Samuel Obiri2
1Chemical Engineering Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi
2Environmental Chemistry Division, Water Research Institute, Achimota, Ghana
Abstract: Artisanal mining is an old profession in Ghana, recent increases in the price of the precious metals has regenerated interest in small scale mining in many communities where there is gold. Small scale mining operators popularly known as “Galamsay” operators are often blamed for excessive damage to the environment due to the crude methods used in extracting the precious metal. Krobiso is one such village in the Eastern Region of Ghana where small scale mining is prevalent due to the presence of gold in the mineral structure. To effectively measure the impact of small scale mining socially and environmentally, a life cycle analysis of the mining process from cradle to grave is required. In attempting to answer pertinent questions about the environmental impact of small scale mining, a water quality test was conducted as part of the environmental impact on the river that flows through the town and on whose bed alluvial gold mining takes place. The river was chosen due to its strategic importance, first as a source of drinking water for the community and secondly as source of alluvial gold and process water for the small scale miners. The water from the river was analyzed for presence of heavy metals associated with the mining process, its turbidity and total coliform and fecal coliform. The results were compared with WHO and Ghana Water Company standards. The results obtained indicated that the water was heavily polluted with heavy metals above the WHO standard. The arsenic, lead and cadmium levels were one order of magnitude higher than the WHO standard while mercury was lower than the WHO standard by 0.004 mg/l.