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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/631

Title: Environmental and health impact of mining on surrounding communities: a case study of Anglogold Ashanti in Obuasi
Authors: Yeboah, Joseph Yaw
Issue Date: 5-Aug-2008
Abstract: Mining is viewed as one of the important economic activities which have the potential of contributing to the development of economies. At the same time, the environmental and health impacts of mining on surrounding communities have been a major concern to governments, the general public and stakeholder organizations and individuals. Whiles the contributions of mining activities to economic development of Ghana is well acknowledged, others contend that the gains from the mining sector to the economy is achieved at significant environmental, health and social costs to the country. The research examines the environmental and health impacts of Anglogold Ashanti’s mining activities on the people of Obuasi and other surrounding communities. Five communities within the Obuasi Municipal area were covered for the data needed for the research. A total of 300 respondents were contacted for relevant information through questionnaire administration and interviews. In addition, institutions and organizations that hold stake in the mining and related environmental and health issues were contacted for relevant data. Data collection problems included respondents’ bias and reluctance to answer certain questions. These were tackled through segmentation of the target population and verifications from field observations. Quantitative methods such as chi-square as well as other qualitative methods were employed to analyze findings of the problem investigated. The research revealed that mining activities have resulted in land degradation leading to limited land available for local food production and other agricultural purposes in the Obuasi municipality. In addition, there is pollution which has affected mainly water resources in the area with major streams like Kwabrafo, Pompo, Nyam, San and Akapori being polluted. Air and noise pollution are also evident in the area. The hypothesis that residents’ appreciation of mining effects on the environments is affected by their years of stay in the communities was validated. The combined effects of environmental problems have culminated into health problems with high prevalence of diseases such as malaria, respiratory tract infections and skin diseases. The hypothesis that infection of malaria and respiratory infections among residents is inversely related to distance from the mines was validated. The findings of the research have demonstrated vividly that mining effects on health of residents in the communities is a function of distance from active mine sites. This is a valuable contribution to existing knowledge. In view of efforts at restoration and intervention measures by Anglogold Ashanti Company in the form of re-afforestation, review of methods of operation and provision of alternative sources of drinking water to the affected communities, it has been recommended that the company revise its environmental management policy in the area to ensure that environmental effects of mining activities in the area are reduced to the barest minimum. In addition, it is recommended that the government, through the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, build additional health centres, principally in all the villages close to the mining containment points to ensure adequate accessibility to health facilities. It is further recommended that the government of Ghana make conscious efforts to reduce the rate at which concessions are granted to mining companies in the country. All these measures should be fully integrated into the mining policy of the country.
Description: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Geography and Rural Development, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/631
Appears in Collections:College of Arts and Social Sciences

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