The Gold Coast

When I’m cabbing home I always have interesting conversations with my cab drivers sometimes they are about marriage and sometime they are about Canada.  But the other day when I was heading home I had a very interesting conversation with the cab driver about “white men”.  It was clear from the beginning that he was not fan of “white men”, he was the first person that I knew that was open to talking with me about the colonization of Ghana.  He was from the northern region and discussed how there was many minerals and resources up there.  He said that before the white men came they did not value one mineral over the other they were all equal and that they were also guided by the Oracle* on where to mine because they knew that water was more valuable then any of the minerals.  He stated water = life especially in Ghana’s heat.  He exclaimed that the Oracle was very wise and did not allow mineral extraction in many areas to protect water sources and the water beneath the land (ground water).  He said that there was such an abundance of gold that his grandpa had shoes with soles made completely out of gold.  He claimed that, that soon changed.

Then the white man came with there weapons, and they threatened us, they made us give them our resources and wanted us to take them to our gold.  They took all of our jobs and minerals. This is why there are very few jobs in the north today because everyone came to the city to find work and many foreign mining companies bring their own workers.  Unfortunately now many of them work in Agbogbloshie extracted minerals from the e-waste.  But now the white man is coming in again and telling us that this is not safe and that we should not be doing this.

Many white men come in and do great work in our villages they help us get jobs, get clean water and we teach and learn from each other, but some one white men are coming here and are still mining our land at lower standards then they would back home and are earning major profits from our land and our people. When do we know when to trust the white men?

*An Oracle is a religious figure that acts as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from the gods.

Mining currently takes up 5% of Ghana’s GDP and minerals take up 37% of Ghana’s exports.  Gold being 90% of their mineral exports.  Why is gold not a bigger contributor to Ghana’s GDP?  There are about 90 registered large-scale mining companies and about 300 small-scale registered mining companies in Ghana.  The majority of these are foreign companies normally with the breakdown of 80% profits going to the company and 20% profits going to the Ghanian government.

I was unable to find exact number of the amount of Canadian mining companies within Ghana but 75% of the world’s mining companies are registered as a Canadian company.  Many think that China is dominating the African mining industry but it reality it is Canada dominating and exploiting this sector.









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