This research unravels the agents and driving motivation behind the rise of illegal small-scale mining in Ghana and its impact. This is accomplished via a qualitative study using illegal small-scale mining in the Talensi and Nabdam districts of Ghana as a case study. At the forefront of this phenomenon are rent-seeking elites, whereas structural factors such as rising unemployment and high population growth, as well as opportunistic factors including low barriers to entry, get-rich quick syndrome, and political corruption/weak institutions are fueling it as well. Although there are some economic benefits of illegal small-scale mining, these benefits are undermined by factors associated with the Resource Curse Hypothesis (RCH) or the 'Paradox of Plenty.' We argue that most illegal small-scale mining communities are characterized by increased rent-seeking activities by diverse stakeholders particularly the elites, poor investments in human capital development, and weak institutional structures and processes. To sustainably address the illegal small-scale gold mining menace in Ghana, all efforts should be aimed at holistically dealing with the rent-seekers, especially the elites involved, eliminating their motives and removing the conditions that facilitate their involvement.
- Illegal mining
- Resource curse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)