Measuring Livelihood Vulnerability to Large-Scale and Small-Scale Mining in Rural Ghana: A Comparative Examination of Agrarian Households

Main Article Content

Vincent Abankwah


While promoting both large-scale and small-scale mining to facilitate rural development and poverty reduction, it becomes imperative to examine the level of exposure and the risk of mining on assets and livelihoods of agrarian households in mining communities. The study was, therefore, designed to examine the differential effect of the risk of large-scale and small-scale mining on livelihoods of agrarian households. The study covered five regions of Ghana namely, Ashanti, Eastern, Western, Central and Brong-Ahafo Regions, where both large-scale and small-scale mining are pervasive.  A two-stage sampling technique was used to sample 864 agrarian households in the study area for primary data. The 864 households comprised 432 households selected from 36 communities which are exclusively exposed to the activities of large-scale mining and 432 households selected from 36 communities exclusively exposed to the activities of small-scale mining. Household livelihood vulnerability (HLV) index was used to measure livelihood vulnerability to the risk of mining. The study established that though agrarian households are susceptible to both large-scale and small-scale mining, assets and livelihoods of such households are more vulnerable to the                 risk of large-scale mining than small-scale mining. Emanating from the study are recommendations to reduce household livelihood vulnerability to both large-scale and small-scale mining and facilitate livelihood development among agrarian households in mining communities of rural Ghana.

Livelihood vulnerability index, exposure index, sensitivity index, adaptive capacity index, agrarian household, large-scale mining, small-scale mining

Article Details

How to Cite
Abankwah, V. (2021). Measuring Livelihood Vulnerability to Large-Scale and Small-Scale Mining in Rural Ghana: A Comparative Examination of Agrarian Households. Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, 39(2), 50-65.
Original Research Article


Chambers R, Conway GR. Sustainable rural livelihoods: Practical concepts for

the 21st century. IDS Discussion Paper 296, Institute for Development Studies (IDS), Brighton; 1992.

Ellis F. Survey article: Household strategies and rural livelihood diversification. Journal of Development Studies. 1998;35(1):1–38.

Chambers R. Sustainable livelihoods, environment and development: Putting poor rural people first. Issue 240 Discussion paper, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, England; 1988. ISSN 0308-5864.

Ghanim I. Household livelihood security: Meeting basic needs and fulfilling rights. Paper, Program Division CARE US. Atlanta, GA: CARE; 2000.

Diao X. Economic importance of agriculture for sustainable development and poverty reduction: Findings from a case study of Ghana. Paper presented to the Working Party on Agricultural Policy and Markets; 2010 . -17 November 2010 at OECD, Paris. Reference: TAD/CA/APM/WP(2010)40.

Ellis F, Freeman HA. Rural livelihoods and poverty reduction strategies in four African countries. Journal of Development Studies. 2007; 40(4):1-30.

Miranda M, Chambers D, Coumans C. Framework for responsible mining: A guide to evolving standards; 2005. Retrieved on 15th January, 2016. Available:

Ghana Chamber of Mines. Mining and sustainable development: The case of Ghana; 2013. Ghana Chamber of Mines, Accra, Ghana

Extractive Hub. Artisanal and small scale mining; 2017. Retrieved on 28th July, 2017. Available:

Mining Facts. What is artisanal and small-scale mining?; 2012. Retrieved on 3rd July, 2018. Available:

Mishra PP, Pujari AK. Impact of mining on agricultural productivity: A case study of the Indian State of Orissa. South Asia Economic Journal. 2008;9(2):337-350.

Weber-Fahr M, Andrews C, Maraboli L, Strongman JE. An asset for competitiveness: Sound environmental management in mining countries. Mining and Development Series. Washington, D.C.: World Bank/International Finance Corporation; 2002.

Weber-Fahr M. Treasure or trouble, mining in developing countries. Mining and Development. The World Bank, Washington D-C; 2002.

Ghana Chamber of Mines (2015). Report on the Performance of the Mining Industry. Ghana Chamber of Mines, Accra, Ghana; 2014.

Obiri S, Mattah PAD, Mattah MM, Armah FA, Osae S, Adu-kumi S, Yeboah PO. Assessing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of artisanal gold mining on the livelihoods of communities in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality in Ghana. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2016;13(2): 1-15. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph13020160

Frankenberger TR, Drinkwater M, Maxwell D. Operationalizing household livelihood security: A holistic approach for addressing poverty and vulnerability. CARE, USA. ATLANTA, GEORGIA; 2000.

DFID. Sustainable livelihoods guidance sheets. UK Department for International Development (DFID), London; 1999.

FAO. Reducing Fisherfolk’s vulnerability leads to responsible fisheries. New Directions in Fisheries. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome; 2004.

USAID. Livelihood & food security conceptual framework. United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington, DC; 1992.

Heltberg R, Bonch-Osmolovskiy M. Mapping vulnerability to climate change. The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA; 2010.

Heltberg R, Siegel PB, Jorgensen SL. Social Policies for Adaptation to Climate Change. In Social Dimensions of Climate Change: equity and vulnerability in a warming world (edited by R. Mearns and A. Norton), World Bank Frontiers of Social Development; 2010.

Ribot J. Vulnerability does not fall from the sky: Toward multi scale, pro-poor climate policy. IMeans R, Norton A. (Eds.), Social Dimensions of Climate Change: Equity and Vulnerability in a Warming World. The World Bank, Washington, DC; 2010.

Hahn MB, Riederer AM, Foster SO. The livelihood vulnerability index: A pragmatic approach to assessing risks from climate variability and change—A case study in Mozambique, Global Environmental Change. 2009;19(1):74-88.

UNDP. Human development reports. Rise of the south: Human progress in a diverse world, technical notes. United Nations Development Programme; 2013. Retrieved on 25th December, 2017.

Minerals Commission. “Mining as Agent of Development.” ; 2007. Retrieved on 3rd September, 2017.

Cochran WG. Sampling techniques, 2nd Ed., New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc; 1963.

Daniel WW. Biostatistics: A foundation for analysis in the health sciences. 7th edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 1999.

Islam MM, Sallu S, Hubacek K, Paavola J. Vulnerability of fishery-based livelihoods to the impacts of climate variability and change: Insights from coastal Bangladesh. Reg Environ Change. 2014;14:281–294. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-013-0487-6

UNDP. Human development reports: Human development for everyone, United Nations Development Programme; 2016a. Retrived on 25th December, 2017. Available:

UNDP. Human development reports: Human development for everyone, technical notes. United Nations Development Programme; 2016b. Retrieved on 25th December, 2017

Sullivan C, Meigh JR, Fediw TS.. Derivation and testing of the water poverty index phase 1, Final Report. Department for International Development, UK.; 2002.

Thabane K. Determinants of vulnerability to livelihood insecurity at household level: Evidence from maphutseng, lesotho. Journal of Agricultural Extension. 2015;19 (2):1-20.