Sustainability in the mining sector of Ghana : an empirical study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management at Massey University, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand

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Sustainability in mining has received much global attention in recent years from academics, policy makers, and industry leaders, and other players. However, scant attention has been paid to examining the sustainability practices of mining companies within developing countries in addressing the proximate and long-term social and environmental impacts of mining activities. To address this knowledge gap, this study examines how large-scale mining companies address their social and environmental impacts through their sustainability practices. This study is situated within an interpretivist paradigm and employs a qualitative research methodology based on multiple cases, drawing on data from interviews with six (6) managers of multinational mining companies operating in Ghana, and 12 key stakeholder groups. This thesis contains four empirical findings chapters. The first of these examines the sustainability practices of large-scale mining companies in addressing environmental impacts throughout mine lifecycle. The findings indicate that the environmental sustainability practices are determined by regulatory compliance and corporate environmental responsibility. Although the environmental sustainability practices are predicated on the requirements in relevant policies and legislation, the findings demonstrate that regulatory pressures drive large-scale mining companies to embrace beyond compliance initiatives based on perceived ethical obligations. The second findings chapter examines the barriers to environmental sustainability implementation in large-scale mining in Ghana. The findings demonstrate that both institutional and corporate challenges are hindering effective sustainability implementation. The third findings chapter investigates the sustainability practices of large-scale mining companies in addressing social impacts throughout mining development. The findings show that large-scale mining companies have embraced a broader scope of social sustainability implementation based on a changing institutional environment. Drawing on stakeholder theory, the findings indicate that mine managers address social sustainability challenges based on instrumental and normative considerations. The fourth and final findings chapter examines the drivers for and barriers to mining companies’ social sustainability practices by drawing on stakeholder theory and institutional theory. The findings suggest that regulatory evolution, institutional pressures, post-closure legacies, transparency and disclosures, and managerial cognition are key drivers for the social sustainability implementation of large-scale mining companies. On the contrary, the barriers to social sustainability implementation stem from institutional voids and divergent stakeholder interests. Thus, by doing a critical reflection of the findings, this study contributes to theory by offering a series of propositions and suggesting a holistic framework for social and environmental sustainability implementation. Regarding stakeholder theory, the findings show that Large-scale mining companies experience fewer pressures from local communities and activists because of their lack of proactive engagement on environmental sustainability issues. Drawing on institutional theory, the findings suggest that multiple and contradictory logics within various institutional arrangements undermine social and environmental sustainability implementation. Additionally, this study provides a frame of reference for practitioners including mining companies and mine managers, regulatory officials, policy makers, and mining pressures groups who are involved in social and environmental sustainability implementation. Future research may consider data sets from other empirical domains, which might uncover differences in the emerging framework for sustainability implementation.
Mining corporations, Environmental aspects, Social aspects, Ghana, Mines and mineral resources, Sustainable development