I was employed as Team Leader for the National Environmental Impact Assessment of the Mining and Exploration Areas and Strategic Environmental Assessment Project (or National EIA & SEA Project) by HifabGruppen AB.
With a budget of some €5 million, over a duration of 3 years (July 2005 – June 2008) the Project assessed the impact of mining on the bio-physical and social environment of Ghana. 5 Long-term consultants and numerous short-term consultants (almost 250 man-months) participated, along with a small number of seconded staff from beneficiary institutions like the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.
During the EIA component of the Project, 61 mining and/or exploration sites were visited by multi-disciplinary teams, including all the major operating mines in the country (gold, manganese, bauxite) and a selection of medium- and smaller-scale mining operations, including artisanal gold and diamond mines, large- and small-scale salt evaporation operations, sand and gravel digging operations, as well as quarries. During these visits, assessments were made of operational health and safety, actual and potential effects on the surrounding communities, effects on the bio-physical environment (topography, natural vegetation, water bodies, etc.), to name but a few aspects. A report on the health effects of mining on miners and nearby communities, compiled by Dr. Edith Clarke and Dr. Bjoern Wenngren, was presented and published at the First International Conference on Environmental Research, Technology and Policy (ERTEP 2007), in Accra. A copy is available here.
The SEA component of the Project was done in a very participative way, utilising numerous meetings with stakeholders on a national and regional level, as well as a number of workshops on national, regional and local level. One part of the SEA component was a study of the cumulative impact of mining on the riverine ecosystems of Ghana, carried out over a period of 12 months. A report on this work, written while it was in progress, was presented and published at ERTEP 2007, in Accra and is available here.
The Project was concluded on time and within budget, and received very positive independent evaluations.