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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8133-8156; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708133

Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana — Part 3: Social Sciences and Economics

1
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan, 101 West Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
3
Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, 101 West Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4
Department Anthropology, Emory University, 1557 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30223, USA
5
Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
6
Institute for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nil Basu, Susan Keane and Paleah Black Moher
Received: 6 April 2015 / Revised: 21 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
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Abstract

This article is one of three synthesis reports resulting from an integrated assessment (IA) of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities that involve multiple drivers and diverse disciplines influencing ASGM, an IA framework was used to analyze economic, social, health, and environmental data and to co-develop evidence-based responses in collaboration with pertinent stakeholders. We look at both micro- and macro-economic processes surrounding ASGM, including causes, challenges, and consequences. At the micro-level, social and economic evidence suggests that the principal reasons whereby most people engage in ASGM involve “push” factors aimed at meeting livelihood goals. ASGM provides an important source of income for both proximate and distant communities, representing a means of survival for impoverished farmers as well as an engine for small business growth. However, miners and their families often end up in a “poverty trap” of low productivity and indebtedness, which reduce even further their economic options. At a macro level, Ghana’s ASGM activities contribute significantly to the national economy even though they are sometimes operating illegally and at a disadvantage compared to large-scale industrial mining companies. Nevertheless, complex issues of land tenure, social stability, mining regulation and taxation, and environmental degradation undermine the viability and sustainability of ASGM as a livelihood strategy. Although more research is needed to understand these complex relationships, we point to key findings and insights from social science and economics research that can guide policies and actions aimed to address the unique challenges of ASGM in Ghana and elsewhere. View Full-Text
Keywords: artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM); subsistence agriculture; alternative livelihoods; “poverty trap”; ASGM policy; miner registration; West Africa; economic development artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM); subsistence agriculture; alternative livelihoods; “poverty trap”; ASGM policy; miner registration; West Africa; economic development
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilson, M.L.; Renne, E.; Roncoli, C.; Agyei-Baffour, P.; Tenkorang, E.Y. Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana — Part 3: Social Sciences and Economics. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 8133-8156.

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