Even though exploitation of minerals, especially gold has been taking place in Ghana for over a century, there are still many problems that have made it difficult for the industry to realize its full potentials, especially in the area employment, income and consequently contribution to growth. According to Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the contribution of the mining and quarrying sector has never exceeded 6% since 1990s even though majority of Foreign Direct Investment has gone to the sector in the past two decades. It is only in 2011 and 2012 that mining and gas sector contributed about 8.5% and 8.8% respectively to growth. The poor contribution of mining to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be linked more to the poor vertical and horizontal linkages of the mining sector with the rest of the economy.
In addition to this non-growth enhancing performance of the mining sector, several conflicts have emerged in the mining sector – conflicts between local inhabitants and mining companies, communities and their chiefs, government and communities and between individuals in the communities, even though there has been a number of policies, regulations and interventions meant to address the problems of mining communities. In recent years, the problem of foreigners, more specifically Chinese, undertaking small scale mining – an area reserved for Ghanaians has generated conflicts that has led to the loss of human lifes
In addition, poor adherence to policies, regulations and interventions, especially by small scale mining has led to several negative environmental (surface water, ground water and air pollution, forest and land degradation, etc) and social (health problems, conflicts, etc) problems that has intergeneration consequences.
Research questions that arise include the following: What are the attitude of mining communities to mining policies and interventions? Why are mining sector interventions not providing the required results? Why do local people violate mining regulations? How can small-scale mining be made more meaningful for the economy? How can policy take into consideration local attitudes? What informs conflicts in mining communities? How can policies and interventions on mining be more effective?
This study aims at addressing these issues by assessing the attitudes of local people to mining policies and interventions The study uses a multi-disciplinary approach to address the core research problems. We intend using secondary data from reputable academic sources and agencies. Data gaps emanating from the secondary data source would be addresses through primary data collection - key informant interviews, focus group discussions and structured interviews. The study area would be the following regions and districts: Western Region (Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal, Wassa Amenfi West, Prestea-Huni Valley, Bibiani/Ahwiaso/Bekwai, Sefwi); Eastern Region (Birim North); Ashanti Region (Obuasi Municipal, Bekwai Municipal, Ahafo Ano North) and Brong Ahafo Region (Asutifi)
The project has a lot of policy relevance, in that it is expected to help address the problem of non-adherence to mining sector policies and interventions by local communities and invariable address the gap between policy decisions and local attitudes that has resulted in conflicts, poor integration of mining with the rest of the economy, poor value addition to minerals, environmental problems and consequently enhance the growth potential of the mining sector.