Social Conflicts in Mining Communities: Implications for Social Policy



Technological drawbacks and rigorous province excavation policies in the 1970s and 1980s discouraged foreign investing in Ghana’s excavation sector well ( Hilson & A ; Yakovleva 2006 ) . However, since a determination was made by the authorities in 1989 to hike Ghana’s mining sector under the Economic Recovery Programme, the sector saw considerable significant growing. Subsequently, investing inducements such as generous revenue enhancement grants, limitless repatriation of net incomes, fixed depreciation allowances, extended security of term of office, waived import responsibilities on equipment and low royalty payments of 3 % did resuscitate the sector as production increased substantially- 700 % over 20 old ages ( ( Hilson & A ; Yakovleva, 2006 ) .

Under the Economic Recovery Programme in the 1980s, employment was besides created and province gross increased. Gold entirely constitutes every bit much as 90 % of the country’s entire mineral exports, accounting for approximately 54 % of entire foreign exchange net incomes, approximately 11 % of financial grosss and 6 % of GDP ( Hinde, 2010 ) .

Soon, there are 13 large-scale excavation companies bring forthing gold in Ghana, noteworthy amongst them, Gold Fields ( Ghana ) , Newmont Ghana and South African AngloGold Ashanti ( Minerals Commission, 2010 ) . The excavation sector has contributed more than 8.7 % to Ghana’s GDP. Apart from gold and diamond, other indispensable mineral exports include rough oil, bauxite, manganese, and salt for the production of acerb sodium carbonate for the bauxite-alumina and petrochemicals industries ( GSGDA Report, 2011 ) . There are more than 300 lawfully registered little graduated table excavation groups and 99 mine support service companies and the sector employs straight more than 36,000 people ( GEITI, 2006 ) . Ghana is considered the second-largest gold manufacturer in Africa after South Africa. The excavation sector entirely contributed 27 % of entire revenue enhancement and 6 % of the country’s GDP ( ) .

Hilson & A ; Yakovleva ( 2006 ) assert that, the downside to the growing of the excavation sector has been the countless societal jobs that have beset excavation communities. Particularly with respect to dealingss with Multinational Mining Companies and the Ghanese Government every bit good as other histrions involved in the sector. Gold excavation in Ghana is mostly foreign-owned and the inflow of and activities of exiles and multinationals in excavation communities has been a major beginning of concern ( Hilson & A ; Yakovleva, 2006 ) . The chase of multiple but changing involvements of parties involved in excavation has frequently resulted in struggles. Some of which have had dire effects on the companies, the province and the local communities, who as it were, have ever, borne the brunt of these differences.

There are three cardinal histrions who are chief stakeholders involved in struggle scenarios in Ghana’s excavation sector. These are the big graduated table excavation companies( LSMs )whose issues of concern are fundamentally encroachment of grant, trespassing andgalamseyoperations, larceny of equipment at mine sites ; Artisanal and small-scale excavation operators( ASMs )who largely have issues look into impeded entree and control over productive land, land term of office insecurity and apprehensions ; and thecommunitieswhich frequently contend with issues of compensation and pollution, including air and noise pollution, taint of H2O organic structures, cyanide spillages and exposed old cavities ( Minerals Commission, 2010 ) .

Other parties that are drawn into the struggles are those who play regulative functions or experience concerned and affected by societal struggles like Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs ) , territory assemblies and regulative organic structures like the Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency. Conflict triggers could besides among others centre on gross direction, relocation and compensation, environmental pollution, alternate supports, illegal artisanal excavation, security, and authorities capacity ( Minerals Commission, 2010 ) . Other emerging countries of concern are anticipated developmental functions of LSMs in communities, prejudiced patterns and unemployment.

Social struggles within the excavation industry normally begin with either verbal or written requests and ailments from aggrieved parties to the District and Municipal Assemblies ( DMAs ) , Minerals Commission, EPA, CHRAJ and other intermediary or regulative establishments or security outfits. These requests and ailments may so intensify into struggles when these organic structures fail to take the necessary action ( Minerals Commission, 2010 ) .

Hilson & A ; Yakovleva ( 2006 ) in a related survey, analyze a excavation struggle state of affairs that stemmed fromgalamseyinvasion of a grant belonging to Bogoso Gold Limited ( BGL ) , in Prestea in the Western Region. The intent of the paper was to critically measure the kineticss of the struggle state of affairs from the point of view of the cardinal histrions involved and analyse the authorities and BGL- proposed recommended declarations. Harmonizing to the paper, the struggle was as a consequence of invasion on an idle grant within the BGL demarcated mine site in Prestea by autochthonalgalamseypacks. For thegalamseygroups, their defense mechanism was that there were no alternate support or employment options to prosecute in as most of them used to work in large-scale mines as skilled professionals and laborers. A directive from the authorities in March 2005 to close down the operations of these illegal mineworkers was met with immense opposition, therefore making tenseness in the communities.

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Hilson & A ; Yakovleva ( 2006 ) observe that measures proposed to decide the struggle achieved really small due to a deficiency of apprehension of the nature of the struggle and of the demands of the markgalamseypopulations. The primary focal point of the paper was the struggle state of affairs in Prestea betweengalamseygroups and the transnational company, BGL, a Canadian Listed excavation company, Golden Star Resources.


As the universe ‘s demand for energy and other extractive industry trade goods such as gold continues to turn, investings in the excavation undertaking itself, community development enterprises and stakeholder relationships go more complex and these complexnesss can worsen or trip struggle ( Minerals Commission, 2010 ) .

The excavation sector in Ghana has generated so much contention in recent times. Most of these controversial issues with the potency of intensifying into struggles have stemmed fromgalamsey( illegal little graduated table excavation ; a term coined from the phrase ‘gather them and sell’ ) activities, Chinese and other foreign nationals’ activities ingalamsey, environmental debasement and land renewal among others ( Minerals Commission, 2010 ) .

Galamseyactivities have late been characterised by the usage of weaponries with the inclination of differences to go violent and have had immense negative effects on human well-being and eco life ( Andrew, 2002 ) .

Expansion of operations of Multinational Companies ( MNCs ) has besides adversely wedged communities in footings of land eviction and supplanting of natives without appropriate compensation. This has farther led to widespread tensenesss throughout several major mining communities like Tarkwa, Prestea, Obuasi, Bibiani and Dunkwa ( Hilson & A ; Yakovleva, 2006 ) .

World Bank and IMF ERP/SAP excavation sector reforms in the 1980s undeniably created an enabling environment for foreign investing in the gold excavation potency of Ghana and generated 1000000s of dollars in gross for the economic system ( Tsuma, 2010 ) . However, over the old ages these same reforms have resulted in a state of affairs where insatiate demand for gold and its related merchandises has had inauspicious impacts on the environment and ecosystems in mining countries. Consequently taking to the poverty, want, marginalization and exclusion of community members from benefits accrued from excavation ( Akabzaa and Darimani, 2001 ) . Increasing poorness degrees and exclusion are indexs that persons lack entree to vital societal services that empowers them and makes it possible for them to populate meaningful lives. It hence suggests that power, resources and financess within the communities are controlled by merely a few societal histrions who determine ‘who gets or accesses what’ , most likely, unevenly, as each will seek to protect or progress their ain involvement ( ibid ) .

Over the old ages debates on excavation related struggles have focused more on socio-economic impacts of excavation, environmental impact in footings of chemical use, and land usage, land term of office struggles, and the effectivity of alternate difference declaration and relocation procedures. Very small attending has been paid to the extent to which these excavation related struggles have impacted on cardinal societal policy issues surrounding on instruction, health care and supports.

In consequence, this survey will look into how societal struggles in mining communities have affected societal services bringing on supports. The undermentioned indexs will be assessed in finding the consequence of societal struggles on the selected communities ;

Skills degree of community members in active labor ; the figure of Community Based Organisations ( CBOs ) recommending for and back uping the community ; the policy execution success rate of excavation sector statute laws ; community entree to authorities services, peculiarly Healthcare and Legal Support ; land ownership position of community members ; part of agribusiness to individuals’ supports: part of off-farm income to individuals’ supports ; signifiers of productive employment community members are engaged in ; instruction degree of kids within the community ; migration rate of community members ; diverseness of individuals’ income beginning ; inter and intra-household income transportation.

A casual expression at surveies related to mining struggle indicates that research normally focuses on the Western Region of Ghana as instance surveies, peculiarly, the Tarkwa and Prestea excavation countries. Most outstanding related plants include ; Tsuma, 2010 ; Akabzaa & A ; Darimani, 2001 ; and Hilson & A ; Yakovleva 2006. Hence, the accent and focal point of this paper on the Obuasi excavation enclave in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Mining activities in Obuasi began in 1897. Till day of the month, Obuasi has produced 28 million ounces of Gold. Production presently is chiefly from belowground gold excavation. One of the major operators of mine site within the enclave is Anglo-Gold Ashanti.

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The chief research inquiry the survey seeks to reply is ;

  • How do societal struggles in mining communities interact with cardinal societal policy issues utilizing support as a major index?


  • To what extent has the excavation legislative model addressed societal policy issues?
  • How has struggles affected income beginnings of community members?
  • How has struggles affected migration of community members?


The focal point of this survey is to measure the Social Policy deductions of societal struggles in excavation communities, utilizing support as a cardinal index.

Specifically, the survey seeks to:

  • To determine how policies outlined in mining legislative models have addressed societal policy issues in the excavation sector.
  • To analyze how societal struggles have affected entree to.

Significance OF STUDY

Mining in Ghana has over the old ages been characterised by struggles at assorted phases of the production procedure. It is indispensable hence for research to convey to light and supply an apprehension of the effects struggles have potentially had on societal service bringing and entree in affected communities. Therefore, offering evidence-based findings that could act upon societal policy by manner of advancing wellbeing economically, socially and environmentally within the excavation sector.

Social Policy is concerned with the societal dealingss necessary for human well-being and the systems or constructions by which well-being may be promoted such as instruction, health care, a occupation or money to advance support coupled with indispensable intangibles like love, a sense of belonging, peace, success and freedom. It involves the diverse facets of mundane life that affect single well-being and public assistance. Conflict in any signifier and in any sector deprives communities and persons of their well-being economically, destroys societal coherence and human development. It is on this premiss that the survey justifies the demand to take into history the Social Policy dimension of societal struggles in excavation communities.


A struggle state of affairs describes a dissension between two or more parties in which each party desires an result the other is non willing to allow. Conflicts come about when individuals are of the impression that their aspirations can non be satisfied at the same clip or are incompatible. These aspirations or desires are articulated by manner of ends or specific marks, criterions or acceptable lower limits. The mutual exclusiveness of the aspirations of parties can be perceived in three elements i.e. the party’s ain degree of aspiration, their perceptual experience of the other party ‘s degree of aspiration, and their perceptual experience of the handiness of integrative solutions, that is, a consequence that could pacify all parties or individuals involved ( Pruitt and Rubin, 1986 ) .

“Social conflict” refers to the agencies by which groups, communities or organisations pursue their involvements in a manner that is likely, but non ever, to ensue in harm, injury or hurt ( Oberschall, 1978 ) . The happening of struggles within a society or as consequence of interrelatednesss of the assorted stakeholders within the society over a resource is what gives the struggle a ‘Social’ dimension, therefore the term ‘social conflict’ .

Johan Galtung ( 1969 ) and Edward Azar’s ( 1990 ) theories on struggles will farther be discussed into inside informations.


The survey will supply an overview of resource and communal struggles foremost of all. Experiences from states like Sierra Leone ( diamond struggles ) , South Africa ( Marikana Mines struggles ) and Nigeria ( Ken Saro Wiwa’s Ogoni battle ) will be discussed. Other excavation struggles that have occurred in Ghana will be discussed briefly. The reappraisal will now be narrowed down to small-scale and large-scale excavation in Ghana ; causes of societal struggles in excavation ; cardinal excavation stakeholders and their functions.

Relevant beginnings of literature will include:

  • Hilson, G. & A ; Yakovleva, N. ( 2006 ) . Labored Relations: A Critical Analysis of the Mining Conflict in Prestea, Ghana.
  • Pruitt, D. G. & A ; Rubin, J. Z. ( 1986 ) . Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement
  • Constitution of Baseline Data on Social Conflicts in Mining Communities ( March, 2010 )
  • Andrew, J. S. ( 2002 ) . Potential Application of Mediation to Land Use Conflicts in Small-Scale Mining.
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Study Area and Population

A related survey conducted in March 2010 revealed that 16 struggle instances were recorded in the the Ashanti Region from two mining operations. The survey will be conducted in the Obuasi excavation enclave in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region. Some of the cardinal excavation communities are Sansu, Dokyiwa, Aboagyekrom, Apitikrom and Ahansoyewodea. The Obuasi Municipality covers a entire land country of 162.4sqkm and is located between latitudes 5.35N and 5.65N and longitudes 6.35N and 6.90N, South of the Ashanti Region. There are 53 communities within the Municipality with an estimated population of 205,000 at 4 % growing rate per annum.

Research Design

Integrating both quantitative and qualitative methods in a survey allows the survey to profit from the strengths of both methodological analysiss alternatively of curtailing the survey to a individual attack ( Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004 ) .

Sampling Method

Purposive trying method will be adopted to choose excavation companies and communities since information has to trust extensively on recorded societal struggle state of affairss. Purposive sampling will be used to guarantee that merely specific mining communities of involvement with recorded incidents of societal struggles are included in the survey. Snowball trying techniques will be employed in the choice of some participants for single interviews. Snowball trying involves inquiring cardinal sources to place other information-rich persons and groups. Sites will be selected based on features such as mine type, geographical location, size, location in relation to human populations, and environmental and societal issues.

Data Collection Procedure

Datas for the survey will dwell of both primary and secondary informations. Primary informations will be gathered in selected communities and will be scaled up with secondary information. Secondary information beginnings will include a reappraisal of related literature, information from the Minerals Commission and surveies from other states in the sub part ( Akabzaa & A ; Darimani, 2001 ) .

Primary informations aggregation will affect field visits to the survey country and designation of cardinal respondents and communities relevant to the survey. Data aggregation methods will affect a mix of qualitative and quantitative informations aggregation attacks. These will include semi-structured in-depth and cardinal informant interviews. Through semi-structured interviews, positions, perceptual experiences and positions from assorted respondents ( community members ) will be recorded and documented ( Tsuma, 2010 ) .

In-depth interviews with excavation sector related establishments like the Minerals Commission, Chamber of Mines and Environmental Protection Agency and representatives in MNCs will supply penetrations into challenges faced by establishments in footings of resource administration, distribution of resources and procedures involved in societal services bringing in communities affected by struggles ( Tsuma, 2010 ) .

Key informant interviews will be conducted with CSOs like the Third World Network and WACAM, District Assembly functionaries and sentiment leaders in the communities. This will hopefully cast more visible radiation on the traditional and political dimensions of societal services bringing kineticss in struggle state of affairss.

Quality Control

Findingss from informations will be transcribed and analysed with inaccuracies identified and crosschecked. This will guarantee that merely relevant and accurate information is analysed and choice work is produced ( Tsuma, 2010 ) ..

Datas analysis

Data will be analysed utilizing both qualitative and quantitative attacks. First, qualitative analysis of interviews will be done by interpreting, construing and categorising informations into the subjects and sub-themes. Additionally, significances deduced from the subjects will be integrated and interpreted based on the aims of the survey ( Tsuma, 2010 ) .


2011 Annual Progress Report Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda ( GSGDA ) , ( 2010 – 2013 ) . National Development Planning Commission ( NDPC ) .

Andrew, J. S. ( 2002 ) . Potential Application of Mediation to Land Use Conflicts in Small-Scale Mining. Journal of Cleaner Production 11 ( 2003 ) 117-130.

Constitution of Baseline Data on Social Conflicts in Mining Communities ( March, 2010 ) . Unpublished study submitted to The Chief Executive Officer, Minerals Commission. Accra-Ghana.

Hilson, G. & A ; Yakovleva, N. ( 2006 ) . Labored Relations: A Critical Analysis of the Mining Conflict in Prestea, Ghana. Political Geography 26 ( 2007 ) 98e119. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.09.001

Hinde, C. ( Supplement Editor ) . Ghana: A Addendum to Mining Journal, ( March, 2010 ) . Aspermont UK.

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Oberschall, Anthony ( 1978 ) . Theories of Social Conflict. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 4 ( 1978 ) , pp. 291-315. Retrieved, 17ThursdayFebruary, 2014.

Pruitt, D. G. & A ; Rubin, J. Z. ( 1986 ) . Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement, New York: Random House.