Over 100 illegal Chinese miners arrested in Ghana

Ghanaian police have arrested 124 allegedly illegal Chinese miners, and have been held in Accra, Ghana’s capital, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) said on Wednesday.

“The Ghanaians have claimed that those Chinese are engaged in illegal mining,” senior embassy official Yu Jie told AFP.

Head of public affairs in GIS Francis Palmdeti told Xinhua the miners engaged in illegal gold mining in the central district of Ashanti, as well as in western and eastern regions.

Some of those miners remained in Ghana without legal documents. The GIS are carrying out more investigations to determine who should be sent back home.

Jie said the embassy has implored the Ghanaian government to give the arrested miners their legal rights and urged Ghana security agencies to implement laws.

“We have cautioned all the Chinese people in Ghana to strictly abide by the related laws and regulations and never to be misled by the unauthorised information in internet,” Jie said.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama installed an inter-ministerial committee to tackle the issue of illegal mining in Ghana on May 14.

The committee is also under instructions to cease all activities of illegal small-time miners. Laws in the country forbid foreigners from small-scale mining.

A 16-year-old Chinese miner was killed last October following a government crackdown on illegal mining, igniting protests in China.

One hundred illegal Chinese miners were arrested then following a police raid.

South Africa set up a task force last year to shut access points to mines to tackle the rise of illegal mining in the country.

In February this year, an illegal Chinese miner was arrested after shooting three locals with an AK47 in Ghana.

The man was allegedly one of four men who were arrested for illegal mining in the region. Illegal mining by Chinese miners resulted in locals attacking and looting the mines.

The Chinese miner opened fire on the looters to retaliate.

The Chinese are heavily involved in small-scale mining. Many times they migrate illegally from nearby countries to work on concessions.

In the same month a Chinese owned coal mine was taken over by the Zambian government for violation of safety and environmental standards.

Located in Sinazongwe, around 325 kilometres south of the capital Lusaka, it has been surrounded by controversy in the past few years.

Ghana has huge amounts of gold deposits along with reserves of bauxite, diamond and manganese.

Gold exports generated revenues of $4.9 billion in Ghana in 2011, according to the Bank of Ghana.

The country also trades in cocoa and started producing oil in 2010.

Exports of gold, cocoa and oil resulted in a 14 per cent economic growth in 2011 in the West African country. 

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