Mining, regional integration and environmental imperatives: perspectives from West Africa
(GovInn, June 2014)
Author: Frank Nyame
Prior to European colonization of the African continent, mining of gold by indigenous people was an important activity for many tribal states and kingdoms that used gold as a medium of exchange to trade in various goods and services. It served as a symbol of power, wealth and influence especially in mineral-rich regions. Well established pre-colonial kingdoms such as the Ashanti in Ghana flourished for centuries partly through conquest and the incorporation of mineral-rich but militarily weaker states or tribes. Pre-colonial mining was thus probably a source of conflict and “integration” in what is now West Africa.