My PhD Research

My PhD Research was conducted in Ghana's gold mining area of Tarkwa. Situated in Ghana's Western Region, Tarkwa is Ghana's Gold Basket, contributing close to 80% of the country's gold resources. This area is home to multiple large scale surface mines and many other small scale mining investments. Tipped as a vehicle for economic development, gold extraction in Tarkwa has contributed to increased social conflicts, environmental degradation and destruction of rural livelihoods. Like in many mining countries of the developing South, Ghana is seeking to explore ways in which mining can contribute to sustainable development and economic growth. To contribute towards resolving this broad development problem, my study sought to generate knowledge on why the concentration of valuable resources like minerals in a given location leads to increased conflicts, economic deprevation and long term underdevelopment. It also explicitly tried to show why local communities who sacrifice their ancestral farm lands for mining investments continue to languish in poverty, while their localities remain economically and politically marginalized. To do this, I examined the manner in which mining contracts, resource benefits, land deals and compensation packages are negotiated, legitimized, institutionalized and structured in Ghana.

This chapter addresses the second objective of my study, which is to identify and map the key actors influencing the state of affairs in Ghana’s mining sector. Besides identifying the actors and their roles, I also document their positions of influence and the interests that they represent. This complex map is what I refer to as the negotiation space. 

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