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Lund University (2015)

The Relationship between Gold Mining and the Local Economy : A Case Study from Burkina Faso

Kaminski, Sean

Titre : The Relationship between Gold Mining and the Local Economy : A Case Study from Burkina Faso

Auteur : Kaminski, Sean

Université de soutenance : Lund University

Grade : Master of Science in Human Ecology : Culture, Power and Sustainability 2015

Résumé
This study looks at the effect international mining corporations have on local economic activity around gold mines in Burkina Faso. It also asks whether the mines have any additional effects, such as changes in poverty or inequality. The study does this by using remote sensing data, particularly nighttime lights, NDVI, and forest loss data to analyze the mine’s effect on the surrounding area. In addition, statistics from the World Bank, G-Econ, and a literature review are used to substantiate the findings. This is framed by the theoretical perspectives of worldsystems theory, unequal exchange, frontier theory, and environmental history as political economy. Together, they lend credence to the argument that the people of Burkina Faso would be better off if they had control of their own natural resources. The main findings of the study are that based on the rapid expansion of nighttime lights in the areas near gold mines, international mining corporations do have a significant impact on local economic activity in the short-term. The NDVI dataset corroborates this trend as well. However, while it is unclear where most of the profits end up, it is fairly certain they do not provide much benefit to Burkina Faso or its people. Regarding additional effects the international corporations have, the research is inconclusive, but it is very possible they perpetuate an endemic system of poverty and inequality. Overall however, this study does indicate that international mining corporations largely increase local economic activity, and opens up more options within the social sciences for doing research with remote sensing.

Mots Clés  : world-systems theory, Burkina Faso, gold mining, NDVI, remote sensing, nighttime lights, unequal exchange

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