One of the most significant multifaceted national challenges in Ghana is the spread of illegal gold mining activities. This type of informal mining is a major source of employment in many parts of a country. This study critically examines the contribution of illegal gold mining on development and poverty reduction in the AWD. In order to cover a range of livelihood outcomes, the study draws on the concept of sustainable livelihoods (DFID 1997) as an analytical tool to establish a relationship between subsistence mining and livelihood outcomes. However, the existing mining regulations have generated several loopholes in the small-scale sector, which has not only resulted in the spread of illegal mining operations, but also witnessed the massive arrival of Chinese and other foreigners in the activity. The study through interviews, focus group discussions and observations concludes that small-scale mining can impact positively on community development and poverty alleviation if only a range of challenging requirements are met. The study looks at the current development pertaining in small-scale mining sector and proposes some strategies on how best these we can address these shortcomings.