About 55 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in the mining sector gathered in Tarkwa through an Action Dialogue to share ideas on a participatory and inclusive road map towards formalization of Ghana’s Artisanal Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector. The Dialogue was convened by Friends of the Nation, with support from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). It took place from January 19 to 22 and included a 2-day field visit to three ASM sites and a 2-day research-based debate and dialoguing. It was organized against the background of challenges of the ASM sector – economic, social, and environmental – which are expressions of the informal nature of most of the operations. An inclusive, rights-based formalisation process will require the buy-in of a multitude of stakeholders from different sectors, with the influence and credibility to make a sustained impact in the ASM sector.
The Dialogue therefore sought to improve the understanding and challenge perspectives amongst key stakeholders in the ASM sector in Ghana. It facilitated new collaborations and initiatives in order to implement changes across the sector and increased trust between stakeholders on how they can work together to drive change to effect changes in policy and practice.
A ‘roadmap’ for a more responsible ASM sector emerged from the Dialogue with ‘Access to reliable information on geological assets’, ‘good ASM practices’ and ‘finance sources’ being the main issues of concern. Ideas were also expressed on how to streamline the licensing and operational processes.
Another output was the formation of a Learning and Leadership Group (LLG) to keep the momentum and drive next steps following the dialogue. The LLG members agreed on the need to create a wider awareness that ASM can be a force for positive change in Ghana.
Dr. Toni Aubynn, CEO of the Minerals Commission and a member of the LLG, expressed that “the diversity of the LLG serves as a major strength to the initiative. Working together with this strength of diversity, the group could build an ASM sector that is streamlined, respected and generates employment and wealth. “We are close to a major change in the way we do artisanal mining in Ghana”, he added.
Reflecting on the lessons learnt from the field, Amina Tahiru, a small-scale miner and Women in Mining Coordinator at the Ghana National Association of Small-scale Miners (GNASSM) said “this is the first time I have visited a hard rock small scale mining site and interacted with women”. “As a leader of women in a small-scale mining group, my passion will be to work towards seeing women in the industry not being ignored since they contribute immensely to the industry”.
The Dialogue has fostered a new path and energised stakeholders for participatory reform of Ghana’s ASM sector. Friends of the Nation will continue to engage to ensure the ideas generated from the Dialogue translates into tangible actions to positively change the ASM in Ghana
 Dr. Toni Aubyn (Minerals Commission), Prof. Richard Amankwah (University of Mines and Technology), Amina Tahiru (GNASSM/ Women in Mining), Georgette Sakyi-Addo (Women in Mining), Collins Oppong (Ministry of Food and Agriculture), Godwin Armah (GNASSM), Robert Siaw (Goldfields Ghana Ltd), and Nii Adjetey Kofi-Mensah (ASMAN) http://fonghana.org/3145-2/