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John Moehl, FAO

Private/Public Partnerships with the Mining Industry in Ghana

Lionel Awity1, Tim Buchanan2, Randall E. Brummett3, Chet Aeschliman4, Mulonda Kalende5, John Moehl6

Aerial view of part of Gold Fields Ghana facilities at Tarkwa

Surface mining is big business in Ghana and other parts of the Africa Region where gold and other minerals are extracted by excavating surface soils to expose ore-rich layers. The mining industry is not only subject to close environmental control and monitoring during the extraction process but also during the decommissioning of mine sites when disturbed areas are reshaped and the land prepared for alternative forms of production before being returned to the State.

In nearly all cases, regardless of the post-extraction renovations undertaken, the mining process leaves in its wake a pit which usually fills with water; the size and shape of the pit along with the water overflow pattern are determined during the course of decommissioning. These flooded pits can become utilisable surface waters with areas ranging from a few to many hectares.

In planning for productive use of decommissioned pits, fisheries options were at the forefront for those sites with suitable water quality. In pits at the inactive Resolute Mine, brood fish were kept in cages for reproduction; fingerlings stocked into the pits for capture by fishers from the local communities. While these methods of fisheries exploitation proved less than ideal due to the rapid overpopulation of the waters and difficulties in catching the multitude of small tilapias, they did demonstrate that fisheries should be part of the post-mining use of facilities.

More recent examinations of the fisheries and aquaculture options have focused on the possibilities of raising fish in cages in the pits. Cage production could also be extended into the numerous surface waters that are found on mining properties.

In addition to pits and other surface waters, gold mines that use the heap/leach method have ponds which become redundant at the closure of mining operations. Teams of experts from the Ghana Ministry of Fisheries, World Fish Centre and FAO, with the support of Gold Fields Ghana are now evaluating ways of converting these ponds to fish production at the cessation of mining.

The effective conversion of surface mining sites into productive aquaculture units has wide application across the Africa Region as well as elsewhere in the world. As communities in mining areas must adapt to lower levels of economic growth with the closure of mines as ore deposits are depleted, profitable fish farming in cages and ponds offers a new source of income that can help offset the social and economic impacts of mine decommissioning.

Tim Buchanan, GOLD FIELDS GHANA, Ltd

Decommissioned pit at Amensia (Resolute Mine) where cages are used for rearing fingerlings

Randall E. Brummett, CGIAR

Surface waters that could be put to productive use in raising caged fish

John Moehl, FAO

Extraction ponds which have the potential to be transformed into fishponds

1 Lionel Awity (Ghana, Ministry of Fisheries)

2 Tim Buchanan (Gold Fields Ghana, Ltd)

3 Randall E. Brummett, Humid Forest Ecoregional Center, BP 2008 (Messa), Yaoundé, Cameroon
e-mail: r.brummette@cgiar.org

4 Chet Aeschliman
FAO Regional Office for Africa
P.O. Box 1628, Accra, Ghana

5 Boniface Mulonda Kalende
FAO Regional Office for Africa
P.O. Box 1628, Accra, Ghana
e-mail: Mulonda.Kalende@fao.org

6 John Moehl
FAO Regional Office for Africa
P.O. Box 1628, Accra, Ghana
e-mail:John.Moehl@fao.org


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