10,000 miners, 10,000 votes: Politics and mining in Ghana

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In their article‘Governing access to gold in Ghana: in-depth geopolitics onmining concessions’, Luning and Pijpers (2017) discuss important politicalissues around mining in Ghana. Using the companies Keegan and Newmont asunits of analysis, and drawing on insights from geography and anthropology,the authors call for an alternative approach to geopolitical issues in mining.They point out that mining concessions are sites of governance that involve eco-nomic players–that is, mining companies and artisanal miners/galamsey–andpolitical authorities positioned at national as well as local scales (ibid.: 761). Ofgreater interest, the authors argue, is the kind of relationship that has developedbetween established exploration or mining companies andgalamseyoperators.The authors point out that the maintenance of such a relationship, thoughuneasy, is necessary in ensuring continuous mining in the areas where thesemining companies are located.This commentary focuses on an aspect of the article that deals with the issue ofgalamsey. Drawing on historical events, I discuss some key characteristics of arti-sanal mining and miners and the issue of hybrid governance, involving traditionaland modern authorities in mining in Ghana.