Mining and public health implications: evidence from the Newmont Ghana gold limited enclaves

Williams AGYEMANG-DUAH, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Joseph Yaw YEBOAH, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Razak Mohammed GYASI, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Charlotte Monica MENSAH, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Francis ARTHUR, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Abstract

Since antiquity, mining has served as an integral component of nations’ sources of revenue for many developing nations blessed with mineral resources. However, anecdotal evidence shows that the magnitude of the health impacts of mining in the Newmont Ghana Gold enclaves is beyond imagination. Yet, ardent research to measure the actual health implications is limited. This necessitated the need to examine the health implications of mining in Newmont Ghana Gold Limited enclaves in the Asutifi District, Ghana. A cross-sectional survey involving simple random and purposive sampled participants (N = 120) was conducted. Questionnaire and in-depth interview were used as research instruments. Data were analysed with a Pearson’s Chi-square from the PASW for Windows application (V. 17.0). The study discovered that mining has a negative ramification on public health. The major health problems associated with mining in the Asutifi District include malaria, skin diseases, visual impairments and respiratory disorders which have a direct linkage to the morbidity pattern in the study communities. The prevalence of malaria is attributed to the neglect of uncovered mine pits which have accumulated water and serving as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Furthermore, it has been established that diseases such as respiratory diseases and sight problems (poor vision) have been caused by suspended particulate matter emanating from the blasting of mineral bearing rocks. The health statistics on the top ten Out-Patient Diseases cases over a four year period (from 2006 to 2009) depict findings of our study. It has been recommended that Newmont Ghana Gold Limited collaborates with the various clinics to fight against certain diseases such as malaria and skin diseases and others found to be caused by the mining activities.