Large scale mining in Ghana: a review of the implications on the host communities


  • Mustapha Okyere Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Land Economy, Kumasi Ghana
  • Jonathan Zinzi Ayitey Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Land Economy, Kumasi Ghana
  • Benjamin Avurinyinbiik Ajabuin Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Land Economy, Kumasi Ghana



artisanal, environmental, Ghana, implications, large scale, mining


Following the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in 1983, Ghana’s mining sector has experienced significant growth, making Ghana one of the 10-leading producers of gold globally and the largest in Africa since 2018. To this end, the mining industry has been contributing significantly to the country’s total export earnings and the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite its contribution to the economy, mining in Ghana has been a subject of debate in the past few years due to its diverse impacts on the host communities. This study therefore conducted a review of the implications of large-scale mining in Ghana. Findings revealed that, mining activities gravely affect the quality of water in most mining communities due to the use of toxic substances such as mercury. Mining activities also destroy forest reserves and farmlands, cause respiratory diseases and death. The study therefore suggests an effective collaboration between all relevant stakeholders in monitoring mining activities to help mitigate the impacts on the host communities.

Author Biography

Mustapha Okyere, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Land Economy, Kumasi Ghana

Department of Land Economy



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

Adjei, E. 2007. Impact of Mining on Livelihoods of Rural Households. A Case Study of Farmers in the Wassa Mining Region, Ghana. MPhil Thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Adu-baffour, F., Daum, T. and Birner, R. 2021. governance challenges of small-scale gold mining in Ghana: insights from a process net-map study. Land Use Policy 102(3-4:105271, doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105271.

Akabzaa, T. and Darimani, A. 2001. Impact of mining sector investment in Ghana: A study of the Tarkwa mining region. Third World Network.

Amponsah-Tawiah, K. and Dartey-Baah, K. 2011. The mining industry in Ghana: a blessing or a curse. International Journal of Business and Social Science 2(12):62-69.

Andrews, N. 2018. Land versus livelihoods: Community perspectives on dispossession and marginalization in Ghana ' s mining sector. Resources Policy 58: 240-249, doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2018.05.011.

Appiah, J.O., Ohene, J.B. and Afram, A. 2013. Effects of mining activities on access to potable water: households' perception and practices at Konongo and Odumasi communities. Civil and Environmental Research 3(12): 44-52.

Arezki, R., Deininger, K. and Selod, H. 2013. What drives the global "land rush"?. The World Bank Economic Review 29(2):207 233, doi:10.1093/wber/lht034.

Asantewaa, E., Antwi, K., Darko, B., Abukari, H., Tang, R., Djaney, G., Appiah-Korang, J. and Appiah, M. 2019. Impact of illegal mining activities on forest ecosystem services: local communities' attitudes and willingness to participate in restoration activities in Ghana. Heliyon 5(10): e02617, doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02617.

Basu, N., Clarke, E., Green, A., Calys-tagoe, B., Chan, L., Dzodzomenyo, M., Fobil, J., Long, R.N., Neitzel, R. L. and Obiri, S. 2015. Integrated assessment of artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Ghana - Part 1: Human health review. International Journan of Environmental Research and. Public Health 12(5):5143-5176. doi:10.3390/ijerph120505143.

Bloch, R. and Owusu, G. 2012. Linkages in Ghana's gold mining industry: Challenging the enclave thesis. Resources Policy 37(4):434-442, doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2012.06.004.

Boadi, S., Ayine, C., Owusu, O. and Acquah, E. 2017a. An analysis of illegal mining on the Offin shelterbelt forest reserve, Ghana: Implications on community livelihood. Journal of Sustainable Mining 15(3):115-119, doi:10.1016/j.jsm.2016.12.001.

Emmanuel, A.Y., Jerry, S. and Dzigbodi, D.A. 2018. Review of environmental and health impacts of mining in Ghana. Journal of Health & Pollution 8(17):43-52, doi:10.5696/2156-9614-8.17.43

Ericsson, M. and Löf, O. 2019. Mining's contribution to national economies between 1996 and 2016. Mineral Economics 32(2):223-250, doi:10.1007/s13563-019-00191-6.

Gajigo, O., Mutambatsere, E. and Ndiaye, G. 2012. Gold Mining in Africa: Maximizing Economic Returns for Countries. African Development Bank.

Garvin, T., Mcgee, T. K., Smoyer-tomic, K.E. and Aubynn, E.A. 2009. Community e company relations in gold mining in Ghana. Journal of Environmental Management 90(1):571-586, doi:10.1016/j. jenvman.2007.12.014

Hagos, G., Sisay, W., Alem, Z., Niguse, G. and Mekonen, A. 2016. Participation on traditional gold mining and its impact on natural resources, the case of Asgede Tsimbla. Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering 6(1):89-97.

Hausermann, H. and Ferring, D. 2018. Unpacking land grabs: subjects, performances and the state in Ghana's 'small-scale' gold mining sector. Development and Change 49(4):1010-1033, doi:10.1111/dech.12402.

Hilson, G. 2002. Small-scale mining in Africa: tackling pressing environmental problems. Journal of Environment & Development 11(2): 149-174, doi:10.1177/10796502011002003.

Hilson, G. and Banchirigah, S.M. 2009. Are alternative livelihood projects alleviating poverty in mining communities? experiences from Ghana. Journal of Development Studies 45(2):172-196, doi:10.1080/00220380802553057

Kamunda, C., Mathuthu, M. and Madhuku, M. 2016. Health risk assessment of heavy metals in soils from Witwatersrand gold mining basin, South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13(7):663, doi:10.3390/ijerph13070663.

Kidido, J.K., Ayitey, J.Z., Kuusaana, E.D. and Gavu, E.K. 2015. Who is the rightful recipient of mining compensation for land use deprivation in Ghana? Resources Policy 43: 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2014.10.004.

Kumi, S., Addo-Fordjour, P., Fei-Baffoe, B., Belford, E.J.D. and Ameyaw, Y. 2021. Land use land cover dynamics and fragmentation-induced changes in woody plant community structure in a mining landscape, Ghana. Trees, Forests and People 4(2021):100070, doi:10.1016/j.tfp.2021.100070.

Kuusaana, E.D. 2017. Winners and losers in large-scale land transactions in Ghana-opportunities for win-win outcomes. African Review of Economics and Finance 9(1):62-95.

Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). 2006. Testimony of The Parliament of The Republic of Ghana.

Minerals and Mining Policy. 2014. Testimony of Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

Minerals Commission. 2015. Artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) framework. November, 49 pp. FRAMEWORK.pdf

Mishra, P.P. and Pujari, A.K. 2008. Impact of mining on agricultural productivity: a case study of the Indian State of Orissa. South Asia Economic Journal 2:337-350, doi:10.1177/139156140800900204m

National Land Policy. 1999. Ttestimony of Ministry of Lands and Forestry.

Obiri, S., Mattah, P.A.D., Mattah, M.M., Armah, F.A., Osae, S., Adu-kumi, S. and Yeboah, P.O. 2016. Assessing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of artisanal gold mining on the livelihoods of communities in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality in Ghana. Intertnational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health13(2):160, doi:10.3390/ijerph13020160.

Ontoyin, J. and Agyemang, I. 2014. Environmental and rural livelihoods implications of small-scale gold mining in Talensi-Nabdam Districts in Northern Ghana. Journal of Geography and Regional Planning 7(8): 150-159, doi:10.5897/JGRP2014.0447.

Owusu, E.H., Ofori, B.Y. and Attuquayefio, D.K. 2019. The secondary impact of mining on primates and other medium to large mammals in forest reserves in southwestern Ghana. The Extractive Industries and Society 5:114-121, doi:10.1016/j.exis.2017.11.007.

Richards, M. 2013. Social and Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Africa - With a Focus on West and Central Africa. Washington, DC : Rights and Resources Initiative.

Salifu, O., Oladejo, N.K. and Adetunde, I.A. 2013. Gold production and the Ghanaian economic performance. International Journal of Modern Management Sciences 2(1): 26-47

Schueler, V., Kuemmerle, T. and Schröder, H. 2011. Impacts of surface gold mining on land use systems in Western Ghana. Ambio 40(5):528-539, doi:10.1007/s13280-011-0141-9.

Stewart, A.G. 2020. Mining is bad for health: a voyage of discovery. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 42(4):1153-1165, doi:10.1007/s10653-019-00367-7.

Tepanosyan, G., Sahakyan, L., Belyaeva, O., Asmaryan, S. and Saghatelyan, A. 2018. Continuous impact of mining activities on soil heavy metals levels and human health. Science of the Total Environment 639: 900-909, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.211.

The Constitution of Ghana. 1992. The Constitution of The Republic of Ghana, 1992. 190. edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/gh/gh014enpdf

The Ghana Chamber of Mines. 2019. Performance of The Mining Industry In 2019.

Tschakert, P. 2009. Digging deep for justice: a radical re-imagination of the artisanal gold mining sector in Ghana. Antipode 41(4):706-740, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2009.00695.x.

Wegenast, T. and Beck, J. 2020. Mining, rural livelihoods and food security: a disaggregated analysis of sub-Saharan Africa. World Development 130:104921, doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.104921.

Yelpaala, K. and Ali, S.H. 2005. Multiple scales of diamond mining in Akwatia, Ghana: addressing environmental and human development impact. Resources Policy 30(3): 145-155, doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2005.08.001,

Zoomers, A. 2010. Globalisation and the foreignisation of space: seven processes driving the current global land grab. Journal of Peasant Studies 37(2):429-447, doi:10.1080/03066151003595325.








How to Cite

Okyere, M., Ayitey, J. Z., & Ajabuin, B. A. (2021). Large scale mining in Ghana: a review of the implications on the host communities. Journal of Degraded and Mining Lands Management, 9(1), 3193–3199.



Research Article