Perceptions of the Drivers and Effects of Galamsey in Ghana

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Gold has been one of the most important minerals in human history and has played an integral role in the economies of and societies of many cultures, particularly in the West African nation of Ghana. While legal gold mining is one of the prominent industries, illegal Artisanal Small-Scale gold mining, referred to as galamsey, has seen an increase in activity as the price of gold has increased while people’s economic situations remain precarious; unfortunately, the result of this practice have led to substantial negative effects, such as water body contamination, loss of arable land, and increased exposure to toxic chemicals such as Mercury & acid threatening communities’ health. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine individuals’ perceptions of the drivers that led to galamsey, and their perceptions of its impact regarding health, environment, and society .The study was conducted in the Ashanti Region and consisted of recorded In-Depth interviews with 20 participants representing individuals affected by Galamsey including miners, teachers, and health workers. The data were then analyzed using a thematic analysis approach using Nvivo software. Results showed that the drivers of galamsey were overwhelmingly economic ones; individuals often worked in galamsey due to necessity, as the scarcity of other forms of employment did not provide sufficient income to sustain themselves or their families, even if they agreed with the premise of galamsey’s negative effects. While there has been substantial efforts to reduce galamsey utilizing law enforcement, future policy directions may also include rectifying the economic circumstances that drive individuals to engage in galamsey in order to eliminate the issue at the source.






TEJAN-SIE, AHMAD (2020). Perceptions of the Drivers and Effects of Galamsey in Ghana. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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