The issue of mining in Ghana has attracted an important and recent debate. On the beneficial side, there are those who point to state revenue, industrial development, employment opportunities and social amenities such as the building of roads, schools and clinics, and provision of electricity and granting scholarships to children. Adherents to such a stance see mining as the propeller of economic development and growth.
However, there are those who see mining as leading to environmental degradation and exploitation. In particular, they point to large tracts of land and forests that are being destroyed by the stripping of the top soil, thereby leading to soil erosion and a destruction of the vegetation. Also mentioned are the significant dust, black smoke, bad odor and other forms of chemicals, which pollute both air and water. Dr. Ofosu-Mensah investigates the extent to which mining in Akyem Abuakwa raised such concerns from Ghana’s Pre-Colonial Era up to 1943. Specifically, he meticulously assesses the impact of mining on the state from the pre-colonial era up to the first four decades of the twentieth century. Important questions that Dr. Ofosu-Mensah addresses include: How traditional miners acquired land for mining, the nature of the indigenous technology used in mining, and its impact on the environment. Ofosu-Mensah addresses, explicates and exemplifies the types of benefits and opportunities that scientific mining created for the people of Akyem Abuakwa and the impact of mining on food security in the state of Akyem Abuakwa. Finally, he tackles the problem of the extent to which mining contributed to the problem of land alienation in the state and social, legal, and moral issues raised by such alienation and loss of land rights. (Nova)
Elisha P. Renne,
Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan, USA. To read the review, click here
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