Mining, Environment and Community Conflicts: A Study of Company-Community Conflicts over Gold Mining in the Obuasi Municipality of Ghana

Author(s): Seth Opoku Mensah, Seth Asare Okyere

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The environment, its natural resources and development capacity remains a contentious element in the development process of human society. In Ghana, similarly as Africa and other developing countries, there is a huge dependence of environmental resources for economic growth and development. Mining gold resources is directly engulfed in this environment and natural resource exploitation process. While mining companies capitalize on their contribution to development and provision of social services, local communities refute and demand abrogation of large-scale gold mining on their "˜land'.

Through an informant data collection approach and secondary data collection, the study analyzes cases of company-community disputes over gold mining and the underpinning issues, the dispute resolution strategies, and the weaknesses in the existing framework. Cases of disputes centered on compensation, resettlement packages, unfulfilled promises, mistrust and lack of alternative livelihoods for economically displaced groups. The dispute resolution strategy is also seen as being too bureaucratic, poorly connected to the cultural and social intricacies of local communities and primarily company oriented. The Study proposes the need for a new framework that considered communities as integral but not peripheral in the general national framework as well as sustaining and enhancing local alternative livelihoods and community led co-designed sustainable development plans.