Child Labour How children in Ghana as young as 5 risk their lives working in mines

The report indicated that as the children, who are between five and 17 years work in those sites, they are exposed to mercury which causes injury to the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs as well as the entire immune system.

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Over 74,200 children have been identified to be working under dangerous conditions in small-scale mining and at quarry sites, the 2014 Child Labour Report of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS6, 2014), has revealed.

The report indicated that as the children, who are between five and 17 years work in those sites, they are exposed to mercury which causes injury to the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs as well as the entire immune system.

READ ALSO: Stop engaging children in galamsey - Minister

The mining law indicates that “persons under 18 years are prohibited from mining. In addition, persons under 21 years are not allowed to work underground”.

But the report has revealed that children who are mainly below 18 years are seen underground, where they get exposed to dust, noise, and vibration as well as poor ventilation.

Consequences

The report revealed that many of the children had developed awkward postures following the long periods that they have to bend while they look for diamonds separate gold ore from other sand particles at the mine sites.

play Many children had developed awkward postures following the long periods that they have to bend to work

 

READ ALSO: Galamsey pit kills two pupils at Meretweso

Others had also become the breadwinners of their families since they earned a lot of money which was used to cater for their families. Meanwhile, those in school used the money earned to pay their fees.

Following the findings, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United States Department of Labour launched a new project in Accra to deal with child labour in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Ghana and the Philippines.

The new project called the “Caring Gold Mining Project” was to bring together all stakeholders to fight against child labour as well as to put in place strategies that will ensure improved working conditions in the artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana.

The mining sites where the projects would be implemented were Adumenu in the Ashanti Region and Morchkrom, Achimfo as well as Dadieso, all in Asankragua in the Western Region.

Speaking at the launch of the project, the Project Director of ILO, Ghana, Mrs Lalaina M. Razafindrakoto, said according to the Ghana National Association of Small-scale Miners, 70 per cent of artisanal and small-scale gold miners operated without licenses.

She said, as a result, many of the activities of the small-scale miners were unregulated, a situation which leads to poor working conditions and many of the children working under such conditions.

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