|Multi-criteria Evaluation; Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining; Suitability Analysis; Processing Facility; GIS
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One of the global phenomena with threats to environmental health and safety is artisanal mining. There are ambiguities in the manner in which an ore-processing facility operates which hinders the mining capacity of these miners in Ghana. These problems are reviewed on the basis of current socio-economic, health and safety, environmental, and use of rudimentary technologies which limits fair-trade deals to miners. This research sought to use an established data-driven, geographic information (GIS)-based system employing the spatial analysis approach for locating a centralized processing facility within the Wassa Amenfi-Prestea Mining Area (WAPMA) in the Western region of Ghana. A spatial analysis technique that utilizes ModelBuilder within the ArcGIS geoprocessing environment through suitability modeling will systematically and simultaneously analyze a geographical dataset of selected criteria. The spatial overlay analysis methodology and the multi-criteria decision analysis approach were selected to identify the most preferred locations to site a processing facility. For an optimal site selection, seven major criteria including proximity to settlements, water resources, artisanal mining sites, roads, railways, tectonic zones, and slopes were considered to establish a suitable location for a processing facility. Site characterizations and environmental considerations, incorporating identified constraints such as proximity to large scale mines, forest reserves and state lands to site an appropriate position were selected. The analysis was limited to criteria that were selected and relevant to the area under investigation. Saaty’s analytical hierarchy process was utilized to derive relative importance weights of the criteria and then a weighted linear combination technique was applied to combine the factors for determination of the degree of potential site suitability. The final map output indicates estimated potential sites identified for the establishment of a facility centre. The results obtained provide intuitive areas suitable for consideration Advisors/Committee Members: James Archibald, Ursula Thorley (supervisor).