Ghana has regained its status as the leading producer of gold in Africa after a 32% surge in gold production last year.
The Ghana Chamber of Mines attributed the development to an increase in production in both small-scale and large-scale mining.
But the country is now facing an environmental crisis due to illegal gold mining.
Much of the country’s forests, rivers and other bodies of water, have been damaged by illegal gold mining prompting serious health concerns in mining communities.
Popularly known as galamsey, small-scale mining has been the source of livelihood for a lot of unemployed youth in southern Ghana.
The government and experts have warned that Ghana could soon have to import drinking water if the current rate of destruction of the environment is not stopped.
The country’s cocoa sector is also under serious threat as farms are being destroyed for illegal mining.
The government had adopted a military approach, deploying soldiers to mining areas without much success.
In 2021, South Africa overtook Ghana as the top gold producer on the continent due to a sharp drop in production.
But the Ghana Chamber of Mines say the country’s gold output shot up to 3.7 million ounces (105 tonnes) last year, from 2.8 million ounces the previous year.