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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'To Move or Not to Move': Reflections on the Resettlement of Artisanal Miners of the Western Region of Ghana
Authors:Hilson, GavinISNI
Yakovleva, Natalia
Banchirigah, Sadia M.
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:mining policy
gold mining
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
Abstract:This article critically reflects upon the shortcomings of the 'Prestea Action Plan', an ambitious initiative undertaken to facilitate the resettlement of artisanal miners ('galamsey') operating in the Western Region of Ghana. The aim of the exercise was to identify viable areas for the thousands of operators who were working illegally in the town of Prestea, an area under concession to the US-based multinational, Golden Star Resources Ltd. In localities such as Prestea, 'galamsey' have converged to work near-surface deposits that mining companies cannot extract economically. At the time of its launch, the Prestea Action PLan was one of the few support initiatives to target artisanal miners, whose claims to land are generally not recognized by governments. It was a particularly significant exercise in Ghana because it suggested that the authorities, who traditionally have exercised a policy of non-negotiation with such groups, had finally recognized that dialogue was needed if the growing rift between the country's indigenous artisanal miners, foreign mining companies and government bodies was to be bridged. It soon emerged, however, that despite its commendable policy objectives, the Plan was fundamentally flawed. Problems concerned the official announcement itself, logistical issues, the identification of suitable plots, and the failure to engage the principal target community. Community distrust also contributed to the undermining of the Plan. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]