Emphasis is placed on examining sustainability transformations in relation to interconnecting forms of land use and resource governance. While mine sites are socially heterogeneous, they have historically been associated with less mobility than in our other study sites. This is changing, however, including through the presence of transnational Chinese migrants. These migrants, and the influence of external interventions, such as Fairtrade certified gold production, are stimulating rapid technological transformation, with concomitant change to social dynamics and organisations. Against this context we explore the potential for a transformative approach to sustainability in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.