Project Leaders: Ghana and Nigeria

It was agreed that the collaborating countries will prepare a framework to support the production of a Summary Document on the role of Geological Surveys in supporting Small-Scale Mining in Africa.

The framework is intended to act as a basis for collecting information for development of the Summary and when this tool has been finalised it will be supplied to the Secretariat for publishing on the OAGS website in order to allow all the member countries to access and populate it with the required data. This is also a natural area of focus for Geological Surveys since access to geological information will enable more effective and efficient development of the sector.

Project Status

Work on this assignment is ongoing.

UPDATE 30 December 2013:

Small-scale mining can be divided into three basic types:
  1. Artisanal - involving the use of simple tools and the absence of a formal enterprise (e.g. Galamsey);
  2. Traditional - includes licensed and registered non-mechanised or semi-mechanised mining operations run by individual or organised cooperative societies;
  3. Advanced - involves the legally constituted small-scale mining companies that are highly organised and utilise advanced equipment and mining methods.


The numerous environmental impacts of greatest concern are:
  • Mercury pollution- 1.32kg of mercury get into waterways for every 1kg of Au produced
  • Cyanide pollution
  • Direct dumping of tailings and effluents into rivers
  • Threats from improperly constructed tailings dams
  • River damage in alluvial areas
  • River siltation
  • Erosion damage and deforestation
  • Landscape destruction
  • Dewatering effects
  • Noise and vibration