Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Funding awarded for West African gold mining project

Mon Jul 10 17:46:00 BST 2017


“People searching for gold in a river

— The project follows on from a IGC-funded pilot-study.


Dr Roy Maconachie has received a grant for a new research project that will map informal financial flows in gold mining communities in the Mano River Union Region.

The 16-month project will use an innovative methodology involving ‘financial diaries’ to map informal financial flows in gold mining communities around West Africa’s Mano River Union Region.

The funding grant has been awarded by the International Growth Centre, UK (ICG UK).

The research is being conducted in Liberia and Sierra Leone in collaboration with Professor Gavin Hilson Chair of Sustainability in Business at the University of Surrey.

Formalising artisanal mining across West Africa

An IGC-funded pilot-study suggested that research on artisanal gold mining was necessary, as most policy discussion and research to date has focused solely on diamond mining.

The pilot-study indicated that research was needed on the trans-border relationships related to artisanal gold mining in the Mano River Union Region, and on the informal economic flows and transactions through which the artisanal gold mining sector there functions.

In both Sierra Leone and Liberia, current government strategies for harnessing natural resource wealth have focused on a top-down ‘growth pole’ approach. But there has been little attention given to understanding how artisanal mining communities can contribute to growth through bottom-up local economic development.

Through the micro-analysis of interconnected informal and socially regulated financial relationships, the research findings from this project will have a transformative effect on understandings of current economic and social development strategies, in turn, facilitating the implementation of poverty alleviation policies and growth measures that are more in tune with the needs of the poor.