Studies of articulations between large- and small-scale mining have overlooked the subterranean dimension of extraction and ignored how mining companies and artisanal miners cohabit in places with long histories of small-scale mining and are affected by their different capacities to access specific mineral deposits. Drawing on a study of two gold concessions in Ghana, this article focuses on three factors that influence modalities of governing access to gold in such sites: the stage of a mining operation, the local socio-political context, and the characteristics of the subterranean structure. We call the combination and interplay of these factors ‘in-depth geopolitics’. The article shows how this interplay affects the strategies used by both large- and small-scale miners to work out arrangements of cohabitation and ways of governing access, control and maintenance to gold in spatial settings where both types of gold mining occur side by side. By tracing ethnographically the variations of ‘in-depth geopolitics’, this article critically engages with ideas of subterranean sovereignty, mining enclaves, state–company–community relations, and the socio-spatial characteristics of mining concessions.