Application of triple bottom line concept to artisanal and small-scale mining activities in Wa East District, Ghana


  • Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
  • Kenneth Peprah Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, (SDD-UBIDS), Wa. Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Department of Environment and Resource Studies
  • Issah Baddianaah University for Development Studies · Department of Environment and Sustainability Sciences



Triple Bottom Line, artisanal and small-scale mining, poverty, land cover, Wa East District


The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector offers a supplementary livelihood strategy to agriculture in northern Ghana, acting as a source of capital to support agriculture. However, the sector has been associated with several adverse environmental and socio-economic consequences, making its sustainability dimensions extremely complex and inconclusive across the literature. This study sought to investigate the dynamics of ASM operations in line with the Triple Bottom Line concept. Specifically, the paper explored the influence of the small-scale mining law and institutional framework on ASM operations, examined the relationship between the economic benefits of ASM and other livelihood activities, and assessed the adverse environmental effects of ASM in the host communities. The research design was a mixed method and cross-sectional survey. Household questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and non-participant observation were the main primary data collection techniques. Secondary data were provided by satellite images sourced from USGS Earth Explorer. They were analysed to determine the land cover types. The results indicate that the relevant regulatory state institutions lag behind their law enforcement duty. The ASM is a lucrative job that provides quick income to the youth. However, ASM activities affect food crop farming and decrease the quantity and quality of vegetation causing variations in land cover. Consequently, the host communities and ASM cooperatives have employed some land reclamation strategies. The study recommends increased government support to the relevant regulatory state institutions to constantly monitor and sanitize the ASM sector. To eradicate illegal mining, the study advocates for multi-stakeholder consultation and action.

Author Biography

Kenneth Peprah, Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, (SDD-UBIDS), Wa. Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Department of Environment and Resource Studies

Associate Professor


Agyemang, I. and Okoto, H. 2014. Small scale mining activity in Mengwe Community, Northern Ghana: Advantages amidst the disadvantaged socio-economic effects. International Journal of Educational Research and Development 3(2):23-29

Alhaddi, H. 2015. Triple bottom line and sustainability: A literature review. Business and Management Studies 1 (2):6-10, doi:10.11114/bms.v1i2.752.

Arowoshegbe, O.A. 2016. Sustainability and triple bottom line: An overview of two interrelated concepts. Igbinedion University Journal of Accounting 2:88-126.

Boadi, S., Nsor C.A., Antobre O.O. and Acquah E. 2016. An analysis of illegal mining on the Offin shelterbelt forest reserve, Ghana: Implications on community livelihood. Journal of Sustainable Mining 15:115-19, doi:10.1016/j.jsm.2016.12.001.

CASM. 2009. Mining together, large-scale mining meets artisanal mining: A guide for action (Communities and Small-scale Mining (CASM). The World Bank, Washington, D. C.

CIMA. 2013. The need for sustainable innovation in business. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, on 12-6-2017).

Crawford, G. and Botchwey, G. 2016. Conflict, collusion and corruption in small-scale gold mining in Ghana: Chinese miners and the state, Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice: linkages and challenges. The Hague: International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), doi:10.1080/14662043.2017.1283479.

Elkington, J. 1998. Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC; Stony Creek, CT., doi:10.1002/tqem.3310080106

Fayiah, M. 2020. Mining and environmental degradation: A gift brings grief scenario for mining communities in Sierra Leone. Journal of Mining and Environment 11(2):347-361, doi:10.22044/jme.2020.8808.1770.

Funoh, K.N. 2014. The impacts of artisanal gold mining on local livelihoods and the environment in the forested areas of Cameroon. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR, Working Paper 150, 1-54, doi:10.17528/cifor/005089.

Gilbert, D. and Albert, O. 2016. Illegal gold mining in Ghana: A threat to food security. Journal of Food Security 4(5):112-119.

Guri, Y.B., Faabelangne, B.D., Derbile, K.E., Hiemstra, W. and Verschuuren, B. 2012. Sacred groves versus gold mines: biocultural community protocols in Ghana. In: Krystyna, M.J.O., Swiderska, K., Kohli, H., Shrumm, H.J. and Hiemstra, W. (eds.), Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring Community Protocols, Rights and Consent. London: IIED: 121-30.

Hentschel, T., Hruschka, F. and Priester, M. 2002. Global report on artisanal & small-scale mining. IIED, London.

Hilson, G. and McQuilken, J. 2016. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Ghana: Evidence to inform an 'action dialogue'. IIED, London.

Hirons, M. 2011. Managing artisanal and small-scale mining in forest areas - perspectives from a poststructural political ecology. The Geographical Journal 177(4):347-356, doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00405.x.

Hoedoafia, M.A., Cheabu, B.S.N. and Korang, V. 2014. 'The effect of small scale gold mining on living conditions: A case study of the West Gonja District of Ghana. International Journal of Science 2(1):151-64, doi:10.5296/ijssr.v2i1.4701.

Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). 2017. Global trends in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues. Winnipeg: IISD.

Kwai, B. and Hilson, G. 2010. Livelihood diversification and the expansion of artisanal mining in rural Tanzania: drivers and policy implications. Outlook on Agriculture 39(2):141-147, doi:10.5367/000000010791745358.

Laari, P.B., Guan, Q. and Cheng, D. 2015. Exploring land use and land cover change in the mining areas of Wa East District, Ghana using satellite imagery. De Gruyter Open Geosciences 1: 618-626, doi:10.1515/geo-2015-0058.

Lins, C. and Horwitz, E. 2007. Sustainability in the mining sector. Fundação Brasileira para, Rio de Janeiro.

Makua, M.P. and Kola, O.O. 2017. Harmful mining activities, environmental impacts and effects in the mining communities in South Africa: a critical perspective. Environmental Economics 8(4):14-24, doi:10.21511/ee.08(4).2017.02.

Mapuva, J. and Dube, M. 2016. Small-scale gold mining and rural livelihoods: Case of Wozoli Silobela Ward 22, Kwekwe District Zimbabwe. Journal of Progressive Research in Social Science 3(3):223-231.

Mensah, A.K., Mahiri, I.O., Owusu, O., Mireku, O.D., Wireko, I. and Kissi, E.A. 2015. Environmental impacts of mining: A study of mining communities in Ghana. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 3(3):81-94.

Ofosu-Mensah, A.E. 2011. Historical overview of traditional and modern gold mining in Ghana. International Research Journal of Library, Information and Archieval Studies 1(1):6-22.

Omotehinse, A.O. and Ako, B.D. 2019. The environmental implications of the exploration and exploitation of solid minerals in Nigeria with a special focus on Tin in Jos and Coal in Enugu. Journal of Sustainable Development 18:18-24, doi:10.1016/j.jsm.2018.12.001.

Rajaee, M., Obiri, S., Green, A., Long, R., Cobbina, S.J., Nartey, V., Buck, D., Antwi, E. and Basu, N. 2015. Integrated assessment of artisanal and small scale gold mining in Ghana-Part 2: Natural Sciences Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12: 8971-9011, doi: 10.3390/ijerph12080897.

Savitz, A. 2006. The Triple Bottom Line. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Slaper, T.F. and Hall, T.J. 2011. The triple bottom line: What is it and how does it work? Indiana Business Review 86 (1):4-8.

The World Economic Forum. 2016. Mapping mining to the sustainable development goals: An atlas. Geneva: The World Economic Forum.

Timbillah, S., Aabulleh, P.N. and Agorhom, E.A. 2007. Iron ore surge in the world: The role of Ghana: Iron ore Conference. Perth, WA: 197-202.

Wang, L. and Lin, L. 2007. A methodology framework for the triple bottom line accounting and management of industry enterprises. International Journal of Production Research 45 (5):1063-1088.

Ziblim, A.I., Abdul-Rasheed, S. and Aikins, T.K. 2015. Forage species used by livestock in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region, Ghana. UDS International Journal of Development 1(1):18-29, doi:10.1080/00207540600635136.








How to Cite

Mensah-Abludo, E., Peprah, K., & Baddianaah, I. (2023). Application of triple bottom line concept to artisanal and small-scale mining activities in Wa East District, Ghana. Journal of Degraded and Mining Lands Management, 10(3), 4547–4557.



Research Article