The Effects of Illegal Small-Scale Gold Mining (“Galamsey”) Activities on the Water Quality of the Akantansu and Sintim Rivers in the Asutifi North District of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana

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This study was carried out to investigate the effect of illegal small-scale gold mining ("Galamsey") operations on the water quality of the Akantansu and Sintim rivers in the Asutifi North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana. Water samples were collected from the two rivers for physico-chemical and heavy metal analyses. Levels of physico-chemical parameters were determined by standard methods while heavy metals were by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS). Results show that, generally, higher values were recorded at downstream locations for most of the phyisco-chemical parameters studied. Mean values for temperature, pH, conductivity, TDS and TSS were within the WHO recommended guideline values for drinking water. However, samples from the rivers were found to be very turbid (> 5 NTU) and consequently coloured (> 20 TCU). Dissolved oxygen decreased at the downstream sampling locations and the mean values were generally slightly below the 5 mg/l recommended by the WHO. Mean levels of copper, arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury were generally higher downstream of the rivers, but were lower than the WHO acceptable limits. However, levels of iron were above the WHO acceptable limits, with very high values being recorded downstream of the rivers. The general trend in the levels of the parameters studied suggests influence from the small-scale gold mining activities along the banks of the two rivers.  
A Thesis Submitted to the Institute of Distance Learning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master Of Science in Environmental Science,