In terms of employment and procurement, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is the largest source of local content in West Africa. Yet, in practice, global and regional governance initiatives downgrade this informal economic activity in favour of promoting large-scale mining (LSM). Informed by fieldwork and other primary data analysed by the authors, combined with a review of relevant secondary sources, this article examines the extent to which mining sector governance initiatives implement local content strategies: the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Africa Mining Vision (AMV), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Community Mining Code, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mining Directive. In turn, the article assesses ASM sector governance and local content strategies in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. The article finds that contrary to expectations based on policy proclamations, local content is not equally inclusive among mining sector actors. As a result, local content programs have generated little in the way of tangible employment and other economic benefits for local mining communities.
- Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining
- Local content policies (LCPs)
- Large-scale Mining
- West Africa
- Resource Governance