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Recognizing and nurturing artisanal mining as a viable livelihood

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  • Tschakert, Petra

Abstract

Much of the discourse and literature on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in sub-Saharan Africa has inherently prescriptive recommendations on how the sector should develop. Devaluation, misrecognition, and criminalization of artisanal, largely illegal miners hamper their participation not only in environmental and political decision-making but also in negotiating potential alternative livelihoods. This article addresses the following three questions: (a) what are the pull and push factors in Ghana's artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector?; (b) what concrete livelihood options exist for unregistered miners when regularization is impeded and undermined?; and (c) in the absence of promising alternative livelihoods, how can the ASM sector be re-imagined to allow poor men and women miners to flourish as recognized and valued members of their society? The findings suggest that as long as currently illegal miners have some expectation that they will legitimately acquire even small parcels of land for gold extraction, they are very unlikely to commit to any of the fashionable, yet short-lived alternative livelihood options that are introduced by external agencies. What Ghana's ASM sector needs is more success stories that demonstrate that small operators can and want to be good environmental stewards, and that they can flourish as recognized and valued citizens.

Suggested Citation

  • Tschakert, Petra, 2009. "Recognizing and nurturing artisanal mining as a viable livelihood," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 24-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:34:y:2009:i:1-2:p:24-31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amankwah, R.K. & Anim-Sackey, C., 2003. "Strategies for sustainable development of the small-scale gold and diamond mining industry of Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 131-138.
    2. Fraser, Nancy, 1998. "Social justice in the age of identity politics: Redistribution, recognition, participation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Organization and Employment FS I 98-108, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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    Cited by:

    1. Francis Fortune & Olawale Ismail & Monica Stephen, 2015. "Rethinking Youth, Livelihoods, and Fragility in West Africa," World Bank Other Operational Studies 22517, The World Bank.
    2. Sadia Banchirigah & Gavin Hilson, 2010. "De-agrarianization, re-agrarianization and local economic development: Re-orientating livelihoods in African artisanal mining communities," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 43(2), pages 157-180, June.
    3. Spiegel, Samuel J., 2009. "Socioeconomic dimensions of mercury pollution abatement: Engaging artisanal mining communities in Sub-Saharan Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 3072-3083, October.
    4. Hirons, Mark, 2014. "Shifting sand, shifting livelihoods? Reflections on a coastal gold rush in Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 83-89.
    5. Kelly, Jocelyn T.D., 2014. "“This mine has become our farmland": Critical perspectives on the coevolution of artisanal mining and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 100-108.
    6. Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Villegas-Palacio, Clara & Arango, Santiago, 2013. "The public good dilemma of a non-renewable common resource: A look at the facts of artisanal gold mining," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 224-232.
    7. Hilson, Gavin, 2012. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the extractive industries: Experiences from developing countries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 131-137.
    8. Smith, Nicole M. & Smith, Jessica M. & John, Zira Q. & Teschner, Benjamin A., 2017. "Promises and perceptions in the Guianas: The making of an artisanal and small-scale mining reserve," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 49-56.
    9. Geenen, Sara, 2014. "Dispossession, displacement and resistance: Artisanal miners in a gold concession in South-Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 90-99.
    10. Roy Maconachie & Radhika Srinivasan & Nicholas Menzies, 2015. "Responding to the Challenge of Fragility and Security in West Africa," World Bank Other Operational Studies 22511, The World Bank.
    11. Schure, Jolien & Ingram, Verina & Tieguhong, Julius Chupezi & Ndikumagenge, Cleto, 2011. "Is the god of diamonds alone? The role of institutions in artisanal mining in forest landscapes, Congo Basin," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 363-371.
    12. Bashwira, Marie-Rose & Cuvelier, Jeroen & Hilhorst, Dorothea & van der Haar, Gemma, 2014. "Not only a man's world: Women's involvement in artisanal mining in eastern DRC," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 109-116.
    13. Teschner, Benjamin A., 2012. "Small-scale mining in Ghana: The government and the galamsey," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 308-314.

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