The University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) seminar series is a sequence of talks and lectures on various topics of importance to the School, stakeholders and the general public. The last public lecture for the first semester of the 2017/2018 academic year was held at the UGBS Graduate Building on 15th November, 2017. The lecture was delivered by Professor Gordon Crawford of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, UK. Professor Crawford lectured on the topic, “Chinese Miners, the State and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana”.
In his introductory address, the coordinator for the UGBS lecture series, Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai of the Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management (PAHSM) pointed out the academic and personal relationship he has with the speaker. He also emphasised the importance of the topic due to the spotlight it has received, both locally and internationally.
Professor Crawford stated that his lecture was focused on the phenomenon of Chinese immigrants into the artisanal small-scale mining sector. Giving a background to small-scale mining, his research pointed out mining as a traditional means of livelihood reserved for Ghanaians as per the law, and can be broken down into legal and illegal (“galamsey”) mining. He researched extensively into the effects of Chinese immigrants in the small-scale mining industry and the effects on the agricultural livelihood of mining areas. He also interviewed Chinese returnees from Ghana in order to gain an in-depth understanding. The research which was funded by the International Growth Centre office in Ghana, helped in the development of content for the lecture.
He pointed out that over the last decade, the growth of artisanal small-scale mining has increased from 11 to 30 percent of overall gold production with an estimated 50,000 Chinese migrants by 2013. This rise, led to the setting up of over 2000 mining operations in alluvial areas of Western, Central and Ashanti regions. Addressing how the Chinese survive in the Ghanaian environment, Prof. Crawford indicated that cover-ups by Ghanaian small-scale miners, payment of bribes to chiefs, landowners and political leaders, and the slow nature of state involvement helped in the growth of the industry, leading to an economic boom with billions of Yuans being sent to China.
Professor Crawford described the impact of the “galamsey” mining as being political, environmental and economic, leading to an increase in growth of the industry, introduction of mechanisation and intensification of production, quicker mining of lands, rise in corruption, deaths on both sides of the parties involved, and destruction of water bodies and farmlands.
In his concluding points, he mentioned that the focus on the “galamsey” menace is a distraction from state failings. Also, the Chinese involvement in the mining industry has helped develop the sector and showed how endemic the issue of corruption in Ghana is. The lecture was ended with a question and answer session.
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