Title: Engagement from Within and Without: A historical analysis of mining in Bole, Northern Region
Authors and Affiliations: Samuel Aniegye Ntewusu1
1Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
Abstract: Slavery and colonialism have dominated historical perspectives of Ghana, then known as the Gold Coast, and its relations with the world. Yet, it is gold which has been the most important and enduring element that has shaped and determined Ghana and its interactions with the wider world. Bole, a town in the Northern Region of Ghana, was and still is a farming and trade town, but for the past ten years Bole had gradually emerged as one of the important towns for illegal gold mining. The mining activities have facilitated migrations, of both Africans and Chinese into the town, contributing to population growth and ethnic multi-culturalism. It has also led to the establishment and growth of certain hybrid activities such as the use of drugs, fake currency and prostitution in the town. The continuous presence of illegal miners has contributed to mass deforestation and environmental pollution due to the use of dangerous chemicals and the destruction of vegetation in gold extraction. Using oral interviews, personal observation and archival sources, this paper discusses these long term changes, both at the mining site in Kwe and Bole town, in order to relate the recent history of gold mining in the area to long-standing concerns in African Studies research.