Loughborough University
Gough_Gold-Grievance_Paul_Kate_final .pdf (419.72 kB)

Gold in Ghana: The effects of changes in large-scale mining on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)

Download (419.72 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2018-11-02, 09:07 authored by Paul W.K. Yankson, Katherine V. GoughKatherine V. Gough
© 2018 Two scales of gold mining operations, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and large-scale mining, have operated side by side in Ghana for decades. In the past, the two co-existed on the same mineralised land without much contact or conflict, as large-scale mining occurred underground and ASM operated mainly on the surface. With the former's transition from an underground labour-intensive mining operation to capital-intensive surface activity, however, opportunities for wage employment have reduced leading to labour retrenchment. Using an informalisation theoretical framework, and drawing on fieldwork conducted in the three gold mining towns of Obuasi, Prestea and Kenyasi, this paper explores how the interface between large-scale mining and ASM has evolved. It is shown how the loss of wage employment opportunities in large-scale mining has contributed to the proliferation of illegal ASM operations. As large-scale surface mining operations have reduced access to mineralised land by ASM, the latter have encroached on to the concessions of the former resulting in conflicts between these parties. It is ASM rather than large-scale mining, however, that is sustaining local economies in Ghana. As the economic well-being of mining towns is linked largely to the fortune of their mining economies, it is imperative that an innovative approach is adopted by the state in addressing the need for ASMs to access mineralised land.


This paper is supported by Department for International Development (DfID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC RES-167-25-0488) through the Urban Growth and Poverty in Mining Africa (UPIMA) research programme.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Extractive Industries and Society


YANKSON, P.W.K. and GOUGH, K.V., 2018. Gold in Ghana: The effects of changes in large-scale mining on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). Extractive Industries and Society, 6 (1), pp.120-128.


© Crown. Published by Elsevier


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal The Extractive Industries and Society and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.09.009.

Acceptance date


Publication date





  • en

Usage metrics

    Loughborough Publications