Spirituality, Land Degradation Nexus in Gold Mining – Abstract

Journal of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences (JEAS). Baddianaah et al., 2021. Volume 23(1&2): 19-29

Open Access – Research Article

Exploring Spirituality, Successes, and Land Degradation Nexus in Small-Scale Gold Mining (Galamsey) in Ghana: Evidence from the Wa East District

Issah Baddianaah 1,*, Kenneth Peprah 2, Abdul-Moomin Adams 3
1 Department of Environment and Sistainability Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, University for Development Studies, P.O. Box TL 1882, Tamale, Ghana
2Department of Environment and Resource Studies, Faculty of Social Science and Art, S.D. Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, P.O. Box WA64, Wa, Ghana
3Department of Governance and Development Management, Faculty of Public Policy and Governance, S.D. Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, P.O. Box WA64, Wa, Ghana

Abstract: This study assesses the implication of traditional beliefs and practices of local miners on land degradation. The effect of artisanal and small-scale mining on land degradation is alarming in recent times in Ghana. In resolving this problem, one key area that has received little recognition in the mining discourse is the consequence of beliefs, customs, and rituals associated with local miners on land degradation. A cross-sectional survey design with a mixed methods research approach was used. Questionnaires were administered to 93 respondents drawn from three local mining communities and supported with key informants and in-depth interviews. The findings indicate that rituals are performed at the commencement of mining to appease both the land and the spirit of gold. Secondly, successful gold mining exploits are associated with successful rituals and powerful spiritual fathers. Thirdly, native spiritual sources that produced successful gold mining exploits are consulted often by miners. Novice miners seek any spiritual support available. Finally, miners claim that powerful spiritual fathers can avert punishment for degrading or defiling the land. The study concludes that beliefs, practices, including rituals upheld in high esteem by local miners, significantly contribute to land degradation in local mining communities. To stem such degradation calls for collaboration between the government and the spiritual fathers to monitor local miners’ activities.

*Corresponding author: Issah Baddianaah: yakubuissah1983@gmail.com

Cite this article as Baddianaah, I., K. Peprah and A. Adams. 2021. Exploring spirituality, successes, and land degradation nexus in small-scale gold mining (Galamsey) in Ghana: Evidence from the Wa East District. Journal of Environmental & Agricultural Sciences. 23(1&2): 19-29.

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Copyright © Baddianaah et al., 2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original author and source are appropriately cited and credited.


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