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Linkages in Ghana's gold mining industry: Challenging the enclave thesis


  • Bloch, Robin
  • Owusu, George


By 2009, Ghana was the second-ranked African producer after South Africa, and had become the world's ninth largest producer of gold, at some 3.8% of global production, up from 2.6% five years earlier. Gold production volumes and revenues rose significantly over the decade from 2000. Yet gold mining tends to be perceived negatively in Ghana, and is seen as providing far less than it should in terms of public revenue, employment, skills development and spillovers, and localised economic development. Gold mining is often depicted as having an enclave status, disconnected and isolated from the rest of the economy. In contrast, the research findings here demonstrate that after a period of strong investment and growth, gold mining can no longer be viewed as an enclave activity: it is in fact more deeply linked into the Ghanaian economy than hitherto understood, through a set of as yet under-researched but promising economic linkages, notably backward linkages, which can potentially be strengthened by policy and support measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Bloch, Robin & Owusu, George, 2012. "Linkages in Ghana's gold mining industry: Challenging the enclave thesis," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 434-442.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:4:p:434-442
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2012.06.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heeks, Richard, 1998. "Small Enterprise Development and the 'Dutch Disease' in a Small Economy: The Case of Brunei," General Discussion Papers 30563, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
    2. Aryee, Benjamin N. A., 2001. "Ghana's mining sector: its contribution to the national economy," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 61-75, June.
    3. Walker, M.I. & Minnitt, R.C.A., 2006. "Understanding the dynamics and competitiveness of the South African minerals inputs cluster," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 12-26, March.
    4. Hilson, Gavin, 2002. "Harvesting mineral riches: 1000 years of gold mining in Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 13-26.
    5. World Bank, 2012. "Increasing Local Procurement By the Mining Industry in West Africa : Road-test version," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2724, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kusi-Sarpong, Simonov & Sarkis, Joseph & Wang, Xuping, 2016. "Assessing green supply chain practices in the Ghanaian mining industry: A framework and evaluation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 181(PB), pages 325-341.
    2. Kusi-Sarpong, Simonov & Bai, Chunguang & Sarkis, Joseph & Wang, Xuping, 2015. "Green supply chain practices evaluation in the mining industry using a joint rough sets and fuzzy TOPSIS methodology," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P1), pages 86-100.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:151-162 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Moomen, Abdul–Wadood & Dewan, Ashraf, 2016. "Analysis of spatial interactions between the Shea industry and mining sector activities in the emerging north-west gold province of Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 104-111.
    5. Ayelazuno, Jasper, 2014. "Oil wealth and the well-being of the subaltern classes in Sub-Saharan Africa: A critical analysis of the resource curse in Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 66-73.
    6. Raphael Kaplinsky & Mike Morris, 2016. "Thinning and Thickening: Productive Sector Policies in The Era of Global Value Chains," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 28(4), pages 625-645, September.
    7. Mensah, Justice Tei & Botchway, Ebo, 2013. "Ghana's salt industry: A neglected sector for economic development?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 288-294.
    8. Owusu, Obed & Wireko, Ishmael & Mensah, Albert Kobina, 2016. "The performance of the mining sector in Ghana: A decomposition analysis of the relative contribution of price and output to revenue growth," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 214-223.
    9. Kragelund, Peter, 2017. "The making of local content policies in Zambia's copper sector: Institutional impediments to resource-led development," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 57-66.
    10. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:167-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kotey, Bernice & Rolfe, John, 2014. "Demographic and economic impact of mining on remote communities in Australia," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 65-72.
    12. 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.
    13. Figueiredo, Paulo N. & Piana, Janaina, 2016. "When “one thing (almost) leads to another”: A micro-level exploration of learning linkages in Brazil's mining industry," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 405-414.
    14. Macatangay, Rafael Emmanuel “Manny”, 2016. "Optimal local content requirement policies for extractive industries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 244-252.

    More about this item


    Enclave; Ghana; Gold mining; Linkages; Global value chains; Industrialisation;

    JEL classification:

    • L72 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)


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