Addressing Community Development through Sustainable Mining Practices: The case of Abosso Goldfields (Damang) in Ghana.
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The performance of the gold mining industry globally is in no doubt. However, the industry's susceptibility to the frequent rise and fall in the price of gold, coupled with the various negative impacts it generates in mining communities have made it reliability for economic growth and development questionable. These impacts have often been grouped under environmental, social and economic impacts. Using a case study of Goldfields Damang in Ghana, this study examined in detail how stakeholder communities within the catchment areas of Goldfields can be developed through sustainable mining practices. The study used political ecology theory to understand the powers of the various actors (multinational companies and government) and to further investigate how decisions taken by these bodies have led to a devastation of the local environment. The study revealed that while Goldfields Damang has been doing a lot in terms of development in the areas of education, livelihood programs and infrastructure, community members on the other hand are not satisfied because the developmental project are not sustainable in the long term. To community members, issues such as unemployment, pollution and compensation were key if Goldfields Damang aims to address sustainable development in their operations. The study concluded that what mining companies cite as sustainable practices are the same as their corporate social responsibilities, except the reclamation practices which are geared towards restoring the nutrients of the soil. Also, the study calls for deep attention to be paid to public participation in the Environmental Impact Assessment process if community development is to be effectively addressed by mining companies.