Mining industry relations to get boost in Ghana

Ghana is the first country to benefit from a global series of in-country, cross-sector dialogues on artisanal and small-scale gold mining
Press release, 10 July 2015

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is launching a global series of in-country, cross-sector dialogues on artisanal and small-scale gold mining, supported by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. The first in-country dialogue will be held in Ghana.

IIED has today released a tender for local organisations to manage the in-country dialogue process. The tender will be advertised on the IIED website and and will remain open for two weeks. 

The process will begin with the tender, with plans to hold the dialogue itself in November 2015. 

Organisations that are knowledgeable on mining and engage closely with local mining communities are encouraged to bid (PDF). The organisation should have a proven ability to convene multiple stakeholders across society, the private sector, government, and civil society in Ghana. The successful organisation will work closely with IIED and a researcher with expertise on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Ghana, for which we are also recruiting (PDF)

The ASM sub-sector employs around one million people directly, and several millions more in downstream and supporting industries, and it is usually practiced in rural areas, making it an important rural economic and livelihood activity in Ghana. Formalising ASM and strengthening rights regimes is key to alleviating poverty, empowering miners, and improving the Ghanaian mining sector. 

The dialogue series will target in particular issues of formalisation, rights and government's role in mining. These issues were identified as priority issues during a six-month research programme culminating in a multi-stakeholder workshop in London, UK in April 2015. 

In parallel to this first country dialogue, IIED is developing partnerships with the Alliance for Responsible Mining and others to jointly shape and deliver a global programme of in-country policy dialogues. The global programme will develop a common framework and tools for supporting local organisations in delivering country-based policy dialogues.

Quick facts

  • Mining is a major contributor to the Ghanaian economy. In 2014, it contributed 38 per cent of merchandise exports, of which gold contributed over 95 per cent of the total mineral exports
  • In the same year, formal small-scale mining contributed almost 1.5 million ounces of gold, representing 35.4 per cent per cent of the total gold produced. This contribution has increased steadily from 2.2 per cent in 1989 to 35.4 per cent in 2014.


Abbi Buxton, lead researcher on the programme at IIED, said: "The Ghanaian government is prioritising ASM as a national issue and a developmental opportunity to be realised. Ghana has a robust and engaged civil society network, many with active efforts and initiatives in place to support ASM. All of this makes it a strong environment to hold a dialogue process that is locally driven and grounded.”

Steve Bass, global convenor of the dialogue series at IIED, said: "The importance of ASM in Ghana is in line with the trends IIED is seeing worldwide. It is estimated that 80 per cent of the global mining sector workforce – some 20 to 30 million people – depend on artisanal mining, and that between 12-20 per cent of the world's gold comes from ASM activities. As such the dialogue series must be practical and outcomes focused, with ASM in the driving seat."

Dr Antony Aubynn, CEO of Ghana's Minerals Commission, said: "Despite Ghana's role as a regional and global leader in ASM policy and extension, and continued efforts to formalise and improve the sector, these efforts have not been as effective as we have predicted or wanted. When you hold a dialogue, you have to make sure those impacted by it are involved. Moving forwards, the two key areas that must be prioritised are the need to build the capacity of government and that of formalisation in the ASM sector."

Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said: "The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is pleased to support IIED through our Responsible Mining Program as it convenes a first-of-its kind international dialogue to improve relations, build trust and develop collaborative solutions between large-scale mining (LSM), artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and local governments. The foundation believes in the importance of convenings that bring all parties to the table, and feel it is critical for the artisanal sector to have a voice in advancing responsible mining efforts of which they are a part."

Project background

The London workshop, funded by the Ford Foundation, discussed in depth the importance of improving government's capacity, resource and incentive to improve ASM's contribution to sustainable livelihoods. Better formalisation policies and the promotion of rights were identified as the means to achieving a more productive and responsible mining sector that is inclusive of ASM. 

The London attendees thoroughly reviewed the issues surrounding ASM and concluded that a more inclusive, sustainable and productive mining sector, with ASM fully integrated, is within reach. 

IIED's global dialogue series on ASM follows earlier work on mining. In 2000-2002, the institute ran the 'Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD)' project, a major review of the mining sector that gathered evidence and engaged stakeholders around the question of 'how can mining and minerals best contribute to the global transition to sustainable development?'.

In 2012, IIED published a ten-year review to assess progress and identify paths forward. ASM was identified as an area where little progress has been made over the past decade. The dialogue series seeks to address some of the underlying and ongoing challenges to ensure progress over the next ten years.

Further resources


For more information on the tender process and interviews, please contact:

Notes to editors

  • Established in 2000, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation provides grants in environmental conservation, working to preserve the world's most treasured landscapes and seascapes.  The foundation's programs promote responsible mining, healthy marine ecosystems and the enhancement of urban environments through strategic design improvements in new and existing parks. For more information on The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, visit
  • IIED is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Simon Cullen: 
+44 7503 643332 or [email protected]