Local Effects of Artisanal and Industrial Mining: Evidence from Ghana

Martin Guenther

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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I estimate local economic, environmental and health effects of artisanal and small-scale gold (ASM) and industrial large-scale mining (LSM) in Ghana. For that purpose I use a novel dataset of artisanal gold mines created with machine learning techniques and satellite imagery. ASM is an informal, low-tech, but highly labour-intensive form of resource extraction that is typically associated with environmental and health damages, social problems and poverty. In contrast to positive expectations from field research, I find that local incomes and expenditures are not affected by nearby ASM sites, while LSM does contribute to both. Environmental degradation by both ASM and LSM is documented in the form of forest cover loss, which has accelerated in more recent years. Finally, I find child health burdens of ASM in the form of increased malaria infection rates and child mortality and different disease symptoms for LSM. These results shine a new light on the trade-offs of mineral extraction between local economic gains and health and environmental costs.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Economics
  • Seltzer, Andrew, Supervisor
  • Rud, Juan Pablo, Supervisor
Award date1 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2020

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