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Title: The gold mining industry in Ghana
Author: Walker, Lillian P.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1971
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In January 1961, a fundamental change in the structure of ownership of the gold mining industry in Ghana occurred, when the State entered this field of economic activity for the first time. From 1877, the industry had been owned, financed and operated by foreign -based limited liability companies. Although the industry was slow to mature largely owing to the constraints of the subsistence environment, it proved to be one of the main spearheads in the structural transformation of the economy from a subsistence to a monetary basis. By the first decade of the twentieth century, the full geographic extent of gold mining had been established, and today the mining towns which have grown up in these areas are among the largest settlements in their respective regions, and support a population of over 60,000 inhabitants. Geographically, the gold mining centres created 'islands of development' in an otherwise underdeveloped hinterland, and throughout its history, much of the value of gold won left the country in the form of salaries repatriated by the expatriate staff and as dividends to the shareholders abroad. Nevertheless, gold has traditionally been a leading export, second only to cocoa in its contribution to the value of exports, and through diverse payments of export duty, taxes, royalties and the purchase of local goods and services, the gold mining industry contributed to the well -being of the economy. In addition, by employing labour on a large scale, the gold mines represented key foci in the labour market. Production was interrupted by two world wars, and the inflationary economy which developed after the second world war had a dramatic effect on both the geographic distribution of gold mining and its profitability in the post -war decades. By 1960, only seven companies had survived and further closures were imminent, unless financial support could be secured from the Government. The Ghana Government chose the alternative of buying the marginal mines instead of supporting the private companies indefinitely by public subsidy. In January 1961, therefore, five of the seven remaining companies were purchased by the State, and a sixth was added in 1965. These mines were incorporated as the State Gold Mining Corporation, and there remains only one gold mining company in the private sector. The takeover of the marginal gold mines was based on socioeconomic principles; to maintain output and employment in these long - established mining communities and to earn foreign exchange for the economy. In contemporary Ghana, the two major political and economic problems are a high level of unemployment and an acute shortage of foreign exchange, with the added burden of large -scale external commer- cial debts. In these terms, the justification of keeping open unprofitable enterprises by public subsidy can be readily understood. The inter -relationship between politics and geography is well demonstrated by the survival of the gold mining industry in Ghana.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available