The social and environmental impacts of mining activitieson indigenious communities : the case of Newmont Gold (Gh) limited (Kenyasi) in Ghana
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The study explores and assesses mining and its impacts on communities within which mining activities takes place. The focus has been on a mining community in Ghana called Kenyasi where mining is vigorously carried out by an American mining giant, Newmont Mining Corporation. The study investigates the real and latent impacts of mining activities on the community in the light of the numerous promises and prospects that mining is said to provide for communities. Mining for many decades served as an important component of countries‟ revenue source especially for developing countries that have been endowed with the mineral wealth. If properly managed, countries can grow their economies with proceeds from mining activities in the form of royalties and foreign exchange earnings for the export of mineral related products. Such benefits from the mining sector have in most cases been used as justification and a social license for exploration and exploitation of minerals in most communities. Nonetheless, in as much as the mining sector have contributed and continually contributes to the economies of mineral endowed countries, one cannot lose sight of the fact that the very nature of mining itself in terms of the lifecycle of mining from discovery to closure seriously impacts on the lives of the communities in which it is undertaken. From the prospecting stages through the construction of mining infrastructure and the actual mining itself carries diverse impacts on communities that can very devastating on the one hand and developmental on the other hand. Usually the impacts are environmental and social in nature and it is these impacts, real or imagined that this study sought to unravel. The environmental and social impacts can to a larger extent change the dynamics of community living and can make the lives of its residents better or worse. The way these impacts are managed by the communities and the mining company involved can either further worsen or make lives rather better for the community and its residents. This calls for drastic attention being paid to issues of Corporate Social Responsibility where mining companies make great efforts in honouring its social obligations to the communities of operation. One way has been the development of Alternative Livelihood Strategies or Coping Mechanisms by mining companies with the view to cushioning people from the adverse impacts of their mining activities as it is done in Kenyasi by Newmont Mining Company and even the community residents themselves. Although most mining companies have carried out these strategies with good intent, it has been realized that mostly, the strategies fail because they lack what has come to be known as Community Participation. The study has paid particular attention to this issue of Community Participation and how its application to the various impact management strategies devised by Newmont in particular as a corporate entity has helped in managing the social and environmental impacts of mining in Kenyasi.
Masteroppgave i development management- Universitetet i Agder 2010