For the Environment: An Assessment of Recent Military Intervention in Informal Gold Mining Communities in Ghana

G. Hilson, Roy Maconachie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This article reflects critically on the impacts of the recent ban on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) – low-tech, labour-intensive mineral extraction and processing – in Ghana. Government officials claimed that a ban was necessary because the country's ASM activities, most of which are found in the informal economy, pose a serious threat to local waterbodies and that security forces were needed for its enforcement. It is argued here, however, that projecting the ban and associated military intervention as actions taken specifically to protect the environment has helped the government escape scrutiny over its choice of strategy to combat illegal mining. Perhaps more importantly, it has masked what may be the real reasons behind these moves: 1) to help the government regain control of the purchasing side of an ASM sector that is now heavily populated and influenced by foreigners; and 2) to put it in an improved position to demarcate parcels of land to the multinational mineral exploration and mining companies that supply it with significant quantities of revenue in the form of taxes, royalties and permit fees.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104706
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date5 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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