Research advocates greater supervision of mining companies

BY: Caroline Boateng
Mr Tamawu during his presentation
Mr Tamawu during his presentation

A Cambridge Scholar and doctoral candidate of the University of Cape Town, Mr Dickson Armstrong Tumawu, is advocating greater supervision, regulation and monitoring of bigger mining concerns in the country.

He said the challenges of environmental degradation and the pollution of water bodies were complex and not only as a result of small-scale mining, popularly known as “galamsey.”

“We need a paradigm shift in the campaign against “galamsey.” The searchlight must also be put on big mining firms and how they are regulated, supervised and monitored,” he said at a maiden colloquium on labour productivity in Accra.

The colloquium was organised by the International Institute for Productivity and Management (IPPUM) in collaboration with First BanC.

The theme was: “Moving Ghana from a lower middle level income to a higher middle income economy – the role of a productive workforce.”


Mr Tumawu, whose research work has been in the area of governance and the extractive sector in Ghana, spoke about, “The quagmire of resource governance for national development: environment, livelihoods and galamsey in Western Ghana.”

He looked at the relationships among regulatory and supervisory agencies, such as the Minerals Commission (MC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mining companies and small-scale miners.

He told participants in the colloquium that illegal miners thought they also had to benefit from the resources and not leave it for only the big mining concessions and the government, who left them poor after mining on their land.

Mr Tumawu also found out that illegal mining sites were vibrant economic areas, where those mining were serviced in their work by other providers in the food, water, sanitation, machinery and other ancillary services. 

From his interaction with the miners, he was told that thousands might lose their livelihoods if the activities were banned.

An interesting fact from his study was that about 50,000 Chinese gold miners had come to Ghana.


Mr Tumawu concluded that to address the challenges of sustainable local livelihoods in mining areas and also to ameliorate socio-ecological implications of mining, a profound understanding of the complex nature of “galamsey” was required.

According to him, that would enable the governance agencies to be properly aligned to the realities of mining communities.