Strained relations: a critical analysis of the mining conflict in Prestea, Ghana
Hilson, G. and Yakovleva, N. (2007) Strained relations: a critical analysis of the mining conflict in Prestea, Ghana. Political Geography, 26 (1). pp. 98-119. ISSN 0962-6298
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.09.001
This paper examines the dynamics of the ongoing conflict in Prestea, Ghana, where indigenous galamsey mining groups are operating illegally on a concession awarded to Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL), property of the Canadian-listed multinational Gold Star Resources. Despite being issued firm orders by the authorities to abandon their activities, galamsey leaders maintain that they are working areas of the concession that are of little interest to the company; they further counter that there are few alternative sources of local employment, which is why they are mining in the first place. Whilst the Ghanaian Government is in the process of setting aside plots to relocate illegal mining parties and is developing alternative livelihood projects, efforts are far from encouraging: in addition to a series of overlooked logistical problems, the areas earmarked for relocation have not yet been prospected to ascertain gold content, and the alternative income-earning activities identified are inappropriate. As has been the case throughout mineral-rich sub-Saharan Africa, the conflict in Prestea has come about largely because the national mining sector reform program, which prioritizes the expansion of predominantly foreign-controlled large-scale projects, has neglected the concerns of indigenous subsistence groups.