Weak mineral governance deepens vulnerabilities of women

In recent years, increasing illegal mining activities in Ghana have worsened environmental degradation and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Women are disproportionately affected, bearing the brunt of the socioeconomic consequences of widespread pollution of rivers, degradation of farmlands, and exposure of communities to hazardous mining chemicals.

Efforts to address the impacts of unregulated mining in affected communities have largely focused on tackling illegal mining activities without prioritising environmental restoration, community resilience, and sustainable livelihoods. However, the social costs of illegal mining, particularly for women, are immense and cannot be ignored. 

To address this pressing issue and prioritise the concerns of women in mineral governance, the FES Economic Policy Competence Centre, A Rocha Ghana and SOCODEVI organised a two-day stakeholder forum on the 7th and 8th of March 2024 to mark the 2024 International Women's Day with a Solidarity March and Durbar at Akorabuokrom and Stakeholder Forum in Aduaddae Hotel, Bibiani, in the Western North Region. The celebration was themed: Towards Women Inclusive Safeguarding for Sustainable Environment and Mineral Governance. The purpose of the engagements was to discuss how illegal mining in Ghana disproportionately multiplies environmental degradation and socioeconomic vulnerabilities of women and identify urgent actions needed.

The forum brought together representatives from civil society, development partners, academia, cooperatives, trade unions, cocoa industry stakeholders, the private sector, media, and affected communities.

Summary points for policy recommendations:

Leadership re-orientation and job creation

  • invest in non-extractive job opportunities for women and youth

Environmental & health protection measures:

  • Declare forest reserves and water bodies as "No Go Zones" for mining.
  • Section 17 of  the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) granting water rights to mining companies, should be replaced with protective provisions against depletion and pollution.
  • Enforce buffer zone policies to protect rivers and streams against pollution, siltation and discharges of harmful contaminants.
  • Repeal the use of mercury in mining operations by law.
  • Provide accessible healthcare services.

Protection of cocoa farms and women's land rights:

  • Fully enforce protections for cocoa farms against forceful takeover.
  • Ensure women's access to and control over compensation and financial benefits resulting from mining activities.

Social impact mitigation with a focus on children and women:

  • Enact laws prohibiting child labour in mining sites and ensure access to education and a safer upbringing for children affected by mining activities.
  • Ensure inclusive participation of women in policy and legal frameworks.
  • Provide accessible healthcare services, training programs, and economic opportunities beyond mining to reduce dependency and mitigate social impacts.
  • Prevent galamsey by retaining and increasing the interest of the youth in Cocoa farming by factories and industries providing decent jobs.


  • Promoting education and awareness programs on women's rights, gender equality and the impacts of illegal mining on their well-being
  • Provide training programs and economic opportunities beyond mining to reduce dependency and mitigate social impacts.


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