The percetions of likely socio-economic impact of Anglogold Ashanti Ltd’s (Aga) Mine closure on the Obuasi Municipality

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November, 2016
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Mining has a long and important history in Ghana, and gold in particular has played a key role in the country’s development. Mining and minerals has been a major source of economic growth and especially in towns and communities directly affected by mining operations. The Obuasi Municipality is rich with gold resources which have been mined commercially since 1897. In 2014, AGA Ltd restructured and downsized the Obuasi Mines to 39% of the original concession area of 475km2 and it resulted in more than 3500 workers being laid off. In this study, Case Study and Triangulation approach were adopted to investigate community perceptions of the likely socio-economic impacts in the eventual closure of the AGA Ltd mining operations in the Obuasi Municipality. Using questionnaires, data was elicited from 105 respondents in 11 communities while qualitative data was obtained through In-depth Interviews, Focus Group Discussions and Key Informants from 6 purposively selected communities in the Obuasi Municipality. The study results revealed that 90% of the respondents perceived adverse impacts of mine closure on the Municipality and in particularly, 88% agreed that the closure of the mine would worsen the poverty situation in mining communities. The findings of the study revealed lack of diversification of the local economy of the Obuasi Municipality due to over dependency on mining. The study therefore concluded that there has not been deliberate policy interventions in providing alternative economic opportunities that could sustain the Municipality in the event of mine closure. This study recommended that timely measures are designed to provide sustainable and alternative economic opportunities through diversification of the local economy of Obuasi. Additionally, Integrated Mine Closure Planning should be adopted and implemented through stakeholder engagement as a mitigation strategy towards solving problems associated with mine closures in Ghana.
Thesis submitted to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Natural Resources and Environmental Governance,