Impacts of Illegal Mining (Galamsey) on the Environment (Water and Soil) At Bontefufuo Area in the Amansie West District

Richard. A. Kuffour, Benjamin. M. Tiimub, D. Agyapong


Illegal mining (galamsey) is known to cause significant environmental pollution; the chemical used and the waste heaps are a source of long term contamination of soil and water bodies. The thrust of this study was to assess the impact of illegal mining operations on the soil and water bodies at four (4) selected communities (Esaase-Manhyia, Aboabo, Mpatuam and Tetrem) in Bontefufuo in the Amansie West District of Ghana. Three 100m × 100m plots were demarcated at each galamsey site in each community. The extent of environmental damage was assessed in respect of numbers of pits and heaped laterite per plot, area of pits and heaped laterite identified on plots and amount of ore washed. Level of pollution of streams in the study area were also analysed. Large pits were dug and had all their streams polluted to a certain degree. There was a statistical significant difference (p = 0.000) between the mean radii of pits dug in the different communities. Furthermore, many heaps of stockpiles were found at Tetrem as compared to the other mining sites. The radii of the heaped laterite differed statistically (p = 0.021) between the communities. Large quantities of ore were washed daily in the communities and were statistically different (p = 0.001). Turbidity was extremely high above the EPA-Ghana recommended limit of 5NTU with corresponding low level of Dissolved Oxygen in the range of 1.43mg/L, and 2.40mg/L, recorded in all the water bodies at the sites. Notwithstanding, the pH, conductivity and Total Dissolve Solids (TDS) were all within the range of EPA Ghana standards. Mercury was identified as the main chemical used for the gold extraction in all the sites which is polluting the soil and water bodies in the area.

Keywords: Illegal mining,       water pollution, galamsey operation, soil degradation

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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