Title: The degraded sand mining site at Golinga, Northern Ghana

Author(s): Vida Arthur
Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Karl Benediktsson
sand mining, land use rights, degradaion, Ghana


This research work was concerned with the relations between land use rights and degradation. A case study is presented of a sand and gravel mine site in northern Ghana, where commercial mining activities have replaced previous use of the land for crop production and grazing. The practice leaves behind open pits on the land surface, enlarged by wind and water erosion due to loss of vegetation and topsoil. These pits are used as refuse dumps by waste management companies, which exacerbates the effects of the site’s degradation to the surrounding communities. Specifically, this study aimed at measuring the total size of the mine area left bare, identifying the reasons for land use changes, and investigating the effect of degradation on the living conditions of local people, taking gender into account. Most importantly, this research explored whether traditional and/or modern land tenure arrangements have contributed to the degradation of the area and whether relevant institutions have the capacity to contribute to the reclamation of the land. The study was undertaken from March to September, 2016. GPS coordinates were taken for the site, interviews were conducted and secondary data obtained. The current size of the mine is 97 hectares. Farmers who lost their farmlands were not compensated and most of them have been rendered jobless, with associated problems. The findings revealed that traditional land systems within the area interfere with environmental regulations and procedures. No reclamation plans are in place to enhance the recovery of the area. The author therefore recommends that sand and gravel mining should be paid much more attention by appropriate authorities and that even distribution of benefits to affected stakeholders is ensured. Additionally, the author recommends that the previous users should be empowered to demand reclamation of the land.

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