The Artisanal mining sector of Ghana was seen to steadily grow in size and significance. It is a source of wealth creation, and employment but majority of miners in Ghana were stuck to the informal way of mining, that is, not passing through the right channels to acquire land and license to operate. It has been the focus of the government of Ghana and other international organizations to help control this activity the best way they can.
Artisanal mining is considered a major source of livelihood for many rural people in Ghana. However, the increase in unregulated mining (galamsey) activities in recent years has resulted in severe land degradation, biodiversity loss, pollution of water bodies and acidification of soils deleterious to the biophysical and socio-economic environment. Accurate information about the location and scale of these mining sites is necessary for decision makers to take action through remediation and restoration activities.
In respect of that, artisanal mining has been a major interest to SERVIR West Africa. As part of its target to bringing solutions to areas such as food security, water resources, land use change, and natural disasters, it seeks to consider investigations into artisanal mining (galamsey) in Ghana and wants to use earth observation tools and technology to easily monitor its growth and to further find ways to curb the troubles it has caused and will cause in future. It does this also, by entering into a collaboration with Center for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS) to build web portals to track the activity across the country.
The Monitoring of Artisanal Mining (galamsey) Service is a monitoring platform built by CERSGIS with information on the location of illegal mining sites across Ghana and their associated land degradation. It is built to provide the necessary spatial data input to decision makers and partners, such as A ROCHA Ghana, who will use the information to target areas for remediation and landscape restoration activities.
It is an open source platform with excellent user-friendliness (very easy to explore). The portal can be accessed via http://ssmportal.cersgis.org/ by everyone without registration.