Ghana: A History of Expansion and Contraction



By discussing key moments and dynamics in the Ghanaian gold mining sector from around 1000 AD until the present, this chapter brings home how processes of expansion and contraction, as well as the relations between different mining actors (including industrial and ASGM miners), are articulated in an increasingly complex web of local, national and global developments involving a growing number of actors. Social histories of gold mining, market fluctuations, the emergence of new actors, political attitudes and policies, underground characteristics (geological and moral), the recognition of environmental effects and technological developments all combine to produce particular socio-spatial situations, which the editors approach through the lens of “gold mining crystallizations.” These are articulated in certain political, social and economic contexts at specific moments and across multiple scales, as well as in time, as the crystallizations we observe today are informed by the histories and futures of gold mining.


Ghana Temporality Technology LSM & ASGM Gold 



I would like to thank the editors of this volume, Boris Verbrugge and Sara Geenen, for their feedback on an earlier version of this chapter, as well as Anthony Acquah for his ongoing assistance with my research in Ghana. Research for this chapter was conducted as part of the project “Sustainability Transformations in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining: A Multi-Actor and Trans-Regional Perspective” (Project number 462.17.201) which is financially supported by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability, co-funded by DLR/BMBF, ESRC, FAPESP, ISC, NWO, VR and the European Commission through Horizon 2020.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social and Cultural AnthropologyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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