Mercury-free gold mining in Ghana

Ghanaian sustainable resources group Commodity Monitor is making equipment available to artisanal miners that improves gold recoveries and uses no harmful mercury.
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Trailer-mounted RG Scrubber wash plant

Commodity Monitor is a trading, logistics, and research company based in the capital Accra, that informs and advises on,  and supports, sustainable production, supply and consumption of commodities in Africa, including mining, oil and gas.

It recently rolled out mining equipment that efficiently recovers more gold for artisanal and small scale miners in Ghana without using any chemicals. 

The equipment made available includes a mobile sluice and a crusher, a centrifugal gravity concentrator processing system and a trailer-mounted alluvial sand and clay wash plant.

The company organised a demonstration in June this year in the Prestea-Huni Valley district of the Western Region, which it claimed enhanced gold recovery, shortened the gold recovery process, and prevented the use of mercury.

"Though artisanal and small scale mining immense holds potential for Ghana's economy, its current practices pose extreme risks to water and forest resources," said Martha Amoako, director of operations and strategy at Commodity Monitor.

"We want to transform the way small scale mining is done in the country. Our test showed that gold recovered by a miner using the mercury-free mineral processing equipment had a threefold increase in a day."

The mining sector has contributed significantly to Ghana's foreign exchange earnings and revenue generation.

In 2019, proceeds from the export of minerals increased to to US$6.7 billion from US$5.8 billion in 2018 according to the Bank of Ghana.

Small scale mining, in particular, contributed 35% gold production in 2019. However, it has mostly been carried out illegally, damaging water, forest, and land resources.