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The impact of artisanal small-scale mining on sustainable livelihoods: A case study of mining communities in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality of Ghana

Theresa Yaaba Baah-Ennumh (Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Joseph Ato Forson (Graduate School of Public Administration, National Institute of Development Administration, Bangkok, Thailand)

World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2042-5961

Publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) on sustainable livelihoods in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality of Ghana. The study seeks to answer the following questions: what is the impact of ASM on livelihoods in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality? What measures could be put in place to ensure the sustainability of livelihoods in the municipality?

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach to inquiry was used in the study. The authors used interview guides (structured and unstructured) to collect primary data from a sample of 400 household heads, 19 institutions, six ASM firms, six mineral processing companies, and two gold-buying agents, and traditional authorities from the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality.

Findings

The findings of the study indicate among other things that land has been rendered unproductive due to the inability of the dominant ASM firms to reclaim lands after mining. The workers’ exposure to cyanide and mercury makes them vulnerable to all manner of health risks, which is a threat to the sustenance of livelihoods. Owing to the unsustainable nature of mining activities, the future indicates not only increases in unemployment but also environmental degradation and health concerns.

Originality/value

The paper contains a significant new perspective of knowledge especially by contextualising sustainable development with ASM. This is an area that has largely been ignored by development researchers. The paper further emphasises the need for policy makers to evolve and embrace developmental approach that is intergenerational.

Keywords

Citation

Yaaba Baah-Ennumh, T. and Forson, J.A. (2017), "The impact of artisanal small-scale mining on sustainable livelihoods: A case study of mining communities in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality of Ghana", World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 204-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJEMSD-09-2016-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited