Methodology Essay

Chapter Three

3. Material and methods

3.1. Introduction/Background

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The following chapter outlines in detail the approach used to explore experiences of land reclamation after mining in Ghana. It starts with the description of the study area and ends with the analysis of the data. To achieve the above stated objectives, this thesis utilized a thorough literature review and empirical data collection method.

3.2. Description of the study area

The first region was Accra, where most of the experts’ interviews were conducted. This is where the major ministries (government institutions) and stakeholders responsible for the policies and regulations shaping reclamation and mining is located.

They also guided in the selection of regions and districts where mining activities were intense.

Ashanti region was then choosing for the field work as guided by literature (Appiah, 2018; Osei, 2016) (Opoku et al., 2015;) use more literatures and key informant interviews. Due to time, financial and logistic constraints the study selected seven towns (Pemenasi, Menti, Achiase, Enumso, Konongo Odumase, Adwareago and Beposo) in the region.

The selected towns represent some of the major mining areas and where reclamation has been successful or failed.

Figure 1. Depicts the main areas considered in the study. Use the new map of Ghana 16 regions

Source: Slightly modified google map.

3.3. The Research Design

A thorough literature review was conducted purposely to answer the first objective (identify policies shaping land reclamation) and the second objective of describing internationally successful best reclamation practices after mining. By a pairwise comparison, the findings from the literature were analysed using SWOTs. This was helpful to compare the strengths and weakness of the practices. In the course of the actual fieldwork, most of the initial findings were confirmed by experts, group discussions, household level interviews and confirmed in a lot of personal observations and field visits (Loos et al., 2018). Policies and framework documents governing mining and reclamation were also analysed during the review.

Besides, the literature review enabled the singling out of the various institutions, experts and stakeholders involved in land reclamation, thus creating a pathway for addressing the third and the fourth objectives, ‘analyse land reclamation practices implemented in Ghana’ and ‘examine challenges in implementing internationally successful best land reclamation practices’ respectively.

Firstly, key informants from Tropenbos International Ghana, were interviewed and asked to name other relevant stakeholders. Using the approach of snowball sampling, the identified actors such as miners, farmer groups, NGOs, etc. were visited, interviewed and asked to suggest additional respondents. In this way, there was an increasing picture of the actors involved in the reclamation network. These actors, however, had extensive experience and knowledge on mining and reclamation in Ghana.

Field work and data collection took place from the months of June 24 to August 9, 2019. Both completed and uncompleted projects (successfully reclaimed and unclaimed sites) were visited. Coupled with the above, 25 questionnaires each were administered to the four of the seven communities (Pemenasi, Adwareago, Beposo and Konongo-Odumase) in the Ashanti region. In all, 100 household interviews were given. This was to gather a range of information on socio-economic characteristics, land reclamation experiences and perceptions of the respondents in the communities.

To facilitate the field visits, group discussions and the interviews in the communities, taxes and motor bikes were used as logistics where necessary due to poor road network connecting the communities. It was possible to visit some large-scale mining companies where reclamation has been done but projects documents and photos were not given out and allowed respectively and hence were kept confidential. Complementing the interviews, focus group discussions and literature review with mapping of the reclamation network allowed for the assessment of the current reclamation situation and potential future development.

3.4.1. Net-Mapping Tool

This is a participatory social network mapping tool, developed by Schiffer (2007) and used for the visualization of different actors and their linkages (Adu-Poku, 2018). The instrument was to identify all the key players in the reclamation network and to investigates the relationship that exist between them. In the first step, the researcher explained the purpose of the study and how the map works to the respondent (s). Regarding the current study, two main questions of the net-map were considered. They included;

1. ‘Who are the actors involved in the reclamation practices in Ghana? Respondent (s) was (were) asked to identify stakeholders involved in the implementation of reclamation practices. Additional actors or organizations that may play a role in supporting or influencing mining and reclamation were mentioned (Loos, 2018). The actors were then categorized and noted on a blank sheet of paper, like Din A2.

2. ‘How are the actors linked’? For this the respondent (s) was (were) asked to identify the existing and non-existing relationships between the different actors. The linkages were then differentiated into (i) knowledge and information flows (ii) flow of funds affecting reclamation. (iii) conflicts.

In this study, fund flows were considered as an amount of money allotted for reclamation activities; knowledge flows were defined as the transfer of information, expertise, awareness creation and training and capacity building (Adu-Gyamfi, 2018). Conflicts were those associated with disputes or misunderstandings regarding leasing a piece of land (concession) for mining, those between the large-scale miners and the small-scale miners and finally those between mining companies and the local communities.

To show the linkages on the paper, different sided arrows were used to represent the direction of the interaction among the actors. Further information on the challenges of implementing international successful reclamation practices were obtained by discussing the map with the relevant respondent (s). This enabled possible in-depth understanding about the respondents’ reasoning of why some players are more important and how different linkages work (Loos et al., 2018). These respondent (s), nonetheless, were selected based on their involvement in the reclamation practices (experiences). Using referral sampling, additional in-depth interviews were carried out to exhaust expert information (Adu-Gyamfi, 2018). The level of details with regards to the actors and their linkages differ from one Net-Map to the other. The number of Net-Maps drawn (10) during the field work were based on the observation that the institutions were not growing. Thus, additional map was not contributing to the understanding of the reclamation system. The respondents included Regulating Ministries (Minerals Commission, Forestry Commission, Lands Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources), Precious Minerals and Marketing Company (PMMC), Chiefs, Farmers, Miners, Opinion Leaders, District Assembly, Representatives of small and large-scale companies, District Chief Executives (DCEs), NGOs such as Tropenbos, Solidaridad, Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) and Partners of Nature Africa, Community members.

In all, this study conducted 22 in-depth interviews, 8 focus group discussions were organized, and 10 Net-Maps were drawn as shown in table 1. To obtain varied and rich views and perceptions on reclamation practices in Ghana, various institutions were visited. The summary of the institutions involved in the semi-structured interview is found in the table below.

Table 1: Summary of the Experts and FGDs Interviews and the Net-Maps drawn in the study

Stakeholders/Institutions Used Net-Maps Direct/Personal FGDs Interviews


Regulating Ministries 2 3

NGOs 4 9 3 4

Farmers3 1 2 4

Miners2 2 3 6

Market Actors/Retailers 1 1

Opinion leaders/Chiefs 4

1: Involved visiting successfully reclaimed and unclaimed sites. 2: Are reps of Large- and Small-Scale Mining companies including illegal miners. 3: Or community members

3.4.2. Structured questionnaires

The household data was collected with the aid of 25 structured open-ended questionnaires through personal interviews of the respondents in four (Pemenasi, Adwareago, Beposo and Konongo-Odumase) out of the seven communities selected. These are communities affected by mining and reclamation. The questions revolved around demographic features of the respondents as well as their general experiences in reclamation practices. To check for success of the response rate by the respondents the questionnaires were pretested and adjusted accordingly. In all, 100 household interviews were administered.

3.4.2. Semi-Structured Interviews

These interviews were conducted with major institutional actors operating in mining and reclamation sector. Case (1990) had already stated that general questions in Semi-Structured interviews served as basic questions for more detailed questions which may come up in the course of the interview. Confirming the above, many questions were also created during the interview, to allow for more flexibility for the interviewer and the respondents (Case, 1990; loos et la 2018).

Open-ended questions were used purposely to cover the detailed responses of the respondent’s opinion on the policies and practices of land reclamation and challenges involved in implementing these practices in Ghana. Before the interview, permission was sought from the respondents purposely to record the interviews. Moreover, interviewees’ responses were restated to ensure member checks. This allowed for clarity in the responses (Guba and Lincoln, 1989). Triangulation was also ensured by reviewing relevant policy documents and project reports (Adu-Gyamfi, 2018). According to Johnson Honorene (2016, para 2), triangulation is a stronger methodological tool that “facilitates validation of data through cross verification from two or more sources”. Most of the recorded interviews were in the local language (Twi). Thus, these were then translated and transcribed to English language for easy analysis (Obafemi, 2019).

3.4.3. Personal Observations

This included direct inspection of the various mining sites where reclamation had been carried out. This observation was necessary to ascertain how the various reclamation practices have been successful or failed. Notable sites visited were those either reclaimed by an NGO or the community. This step allowed for the use of SWOT analysis. Furthermore, videos and photos were taken to enrich and supported the research.

3.5. Data Collection and Analysis

This section captures the methodology used for the analysis of the data collected. Thus, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used. In addition, different management land reclamation practices were analysed using different tools known as SWOT analysis and black box approach.

The qualitative and the quantitative methods included the use of participatory mapping tool (Net-map), structured questionnaires, semi-structured in-depth interviews with experts and key informants, focus group discussions and personal observation. The study made use of secondary data through the review of published literature, reports of ministries and other relevant organizations as well as University dissertations revolving around Mining and land reclamation (Loos et al., 2018).

3.5.1. Qualitative Analysis

Firstly, content analysis was used to identify recurring and patterns or unique themes from the qualitative interview responses. They were then analysed inductively (Berg et al., 2004). According to Bowen (2006, p. 2) cited by Obafemi (2019), “Inductive analysis means that the patterns, themes and categories of analysis come from the data; they emerge out of the data rather than being imposed on them prior to data collection and analysis”. The experiences of the practices involved in the reclamation were also subjected to SWOT analysis.

3.5.2. Quantitative analysis

In this study, data on basic demographic features of the respondents such as age, religion, gender, marital status, income level, educational level and profession were first organized in a Microsoft excel 2010 and then subjected to descriptive statistics of frequency distribution, percentages and cumulative percentage using a statistical package STATA 14.

4. Uniqueness of the Study

Several works have been produced on mining and reclamation, yet none has used Net-Map as a qualitative research method. This thesis, therefore, contribute to the body of knowledge by applying a participatory social Net-Mapping technique. Net-Map has been utilized in several research areas in the literature (Birner & Poku, 2017; Lin, Gupta, Loos, & Birner, 2019; Loos, Hoppe, Dzomeku, & Scheiterle, 2018; Poku, Gupta, & Birner, 2016) but has scarcely or never been used to study mining and reclamation. – GIZ used net-map to study …xxxx


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