Ghana is well known for its gold production, the second largest in Africa, with both large-scale and small-scale gold mining. While large-scale gold mining is dominated by transnational mining corporations, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has been a traditional and indigenous activity for centuries, commonly using rudimentary means of extraction, and an activity that by law is reserved for Ghanaians (Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, 2006: sec 83). As in other African countries, ASM takes licensed and unlicensed forms, with the latter predominating – such illicit miners are known in Ghana as galamsey, an adulterated version of the English phrase “gather them and sell” (Aubynn et al., 2010: 3). In contemporary times, ASM in Ghana has become an increasingly important means of livelihood for many rural dwellers, often turning to mining to supplement or replace farming incomes (Jonsson and Fold, 2011: 480; Hilson and Garforth, 2012). The last decade has seen two other major and interrelated changes in the ASM sector in Ghana. One is that gold production from small-scale mining has increased spectacularly, both by volume and as a proportion of total gold production. Official figures show that the volume of gold from small-scale mining has increased seven-fold from 225,411 ounces in 2005 to 1,576,478 ounces in 2013, and that the percentage of total gold production from small-scale mining (in comparison with large-scale mining) has increased from 11 per cent in 2005, to 15.2 per cent in 2008, and to a remarkable 36 per cent in 2013.2 Such phenomenal growth can be accounted for partly by the rise in rural households that are involved in ASM activities, and partly by the next change. The second development has been more controversial due to the questions of legality and resource sovereignty that it raises. The last decade has seen a large increase in foreign involvement in the ASM sector, especially miners from China. From 2006 onwards, small numbers of Chinese and other foreign miners started coming to Ghana to engage in artisanal gold mining. The hike in gold prices from 2008 then led to a veritable gold rush

and the arrival of substantial numbers of foreign miners, all working on an illicit basis given that small-scale mining can legally be undertaken only by Ghanaian citizens. Foreign miners came from nearby countries in West Africa as well as more distant parts of the world such as Armenia and Russia, but by far the largest concentration was from China (Interview 1). Indeed, in 2013 at the height of foreign involvement, a Chinese newspaper reported that an estimated 50,000 miners had left China for Ghana (Kane, 2013). The Chinese miners introduced new technology and machinery which increased the scale of mining, leading to larger areas of land being turned over to mining and to a consequent increase in environmental degradation. By 2013, the participation of Chinese nationals in informal mining in Ghana had grown to such proportions, with adverse media coverage of ‘illegal Chinese miners’ and of conflicts between local and Chinese miners, that the Government of Ghana was forced to act. On 15 May 2013, President Mahama finally acknowledged that “We do clearly have a problem” and established a high-level Inter-Ministerial Task Force to combat illegal small-scale mining. While the President was careful to include all illegal mining activities in its remit, the sub-text was clear that this was a measure primarily aimed at foreign miners, especially Chinese nationals. The Task Force was essentially a military operation undertaken by the army and police, referred to as the ‘flushing out’ of illegal miners, and led to the deportation of 4,592 Chinese nationals, of whom 571 had been arrested and the rest had ‘turned themselves in’, as well as smaller numbers of other foreign nationals from Russia, Togo, and Niger (Modern Ghana, 2013). Although the scale of foreign involvement in ASM has declined postTask Force, we argue here that this short but intense episode of foreign involvement, especially the role of Chinese miners, has brought about significant and irreversible changes in this traditional economic sector. What are the implications of such changes for the questions of resource fairness being examined in this volume? Traditionally, ASM has provided economic opportunities for low-income Ghanaians in rural areas (Akabzaa, 2009: 59; Jonsson and Fold, 2011: 480). This is in contrast to large-scale mining where benefits have been “disproportionately appropriated” by transnational mining corporations (Akabzaa, 2009: 29), with limited revenue to national government, and often negative livelihood impacts for communities affected by mining (Akabzaa, 2009: 58; Anyidoho and Crawford, 2014). In fact, official Ghanaian government policy has specifically promoted licensed ASM as a means of poverty reduction (Aryee, 2003), especially through rural employment creation and reduced rural-urban migration (Minerals Commission, 2009). Similarly, the restriction by law of small-scale mining to Ghanaian citizens would appear to be an attempt to enhance resource fairness, as reflected in a statement by the deputy minister for lands and natural resources that the law is intended to enable relatively low-income Ghanaian citizens “to benefit from the country’s

mineral resources” (Asamoah, 2014). However, the apparent flouting of this law by large numbers of foreign miners in the last decade could undermine this intent. Therefore, we explore two main questions in this chapter. What has been the impact of foreign involvement in small-scale mining in Ghana? And what are the consequences for issues of resource fairness? Before turning to address these questions, it is necessary to define what we mean by resource fairness in this context. We examine the concept in four interrelated ways: resource sovereignty; state revenue collection; the distribution of benefits; and the issue of externalities and environmental degradation. Resource sovereignty refers to national control over a country’s mineral resources, and the extent to which benefits from natural resource extraction are retained internally or subject to external capture and flight. Such questions are closely related to the issue of revenue collection and the degree to which the state is able to gain tax revenue from resource extraction for use in service provision and infrastructural development. The distribution of benefits concerns the question of who benefits directly and indirectly from resource extraction in terms of incomegenerating activities, and the extent to which benefits are enjoyed by lowincome Ghanaians or subject to elite capture. The issue of fairness in the distribution of benefits also involves a gender dimension, and the extent to which benefits are shared by both women and men. Finally, the issue of (negative) externalities concerns the question of who benefits from mining and who bears the costs of the associated environmental degradation. Fieldwork was undertaken by the authors in July and August 2014 in the Upper Denkyira East Municipality in the Central region, bordering with the Ashanti and Western regions, one year after the Task Force’s operations. Although the presence of foreign miners was much less by then, we were able to gather data on the preceding period and the concerns, issues, and changes that had emerged during this time. This municipality was chosen as it is in the heartland of the main alluvial gold mining area in southern Ghana, and a centre of Chinese involvement in small-scale mining. Data collection methods involved: semi-structured interviews with government officials at regional and municipal levels, chiefs and local politicians, local journalists, and local Ghanaian miners; and focus group discussions in two mining communities. In addition, visits were undertaken to ASM sites, both legal and illegal, to observe mining processes at first hand, including the degree of environmental degradation. National level interviews were conducted both prior to and after fieldwork to validate the initial findings, involving Ghanians and Chinese citizens resident in Ghana. The chapter proceeds in six main sections. After this introduction, the second section provides background information on small-scale gold mining in Ghana. The third examines the rise of foreign involvement, especially by Chinese miners. The fourth section looks at the impact on the ASM sector of foreign involvement, while the fifth considers the implications for issues of resource fairness. Finally, the conclusion summarizes the

findings and reflects on why this situation was allowed to happen, given the illegalities involved, and what this tells us about the nature of the state in Ghana.