Protests over Chinese miner killed in Ghana

A Ghanaian government crackdown on illegal mining in the country has killed a 16 year old Chinese miner, and sparked protests from China.

It comes as China seeks to have more influence and presence on the continent, while gaining access to its relatively untapped minerals and metals.

The police raid on the alleged gold mine saw around 100 Chinese workers arrested on the suspicion of illegal gold mining, AFP reports.

According to The Globe and Mail, Ghanian officials say the growing number of Chinese miners is becoming "a real national challenge", as the level of illegal mining grows in Africa.

Richard Kofi Afenu, sectoral policy and planning manager at Ghana’s Mineral Commission explained that "most of these Chinese illegal miners are heavily armed and shoot at anyone that gets near them.

"In this case, they opened fire when police tried to arrest [these Chinese miners], it is not as though police wanted to shoot them.

The Chinese reacted immediately, with its local embassy's political director Yu Jie called for an investigation into the incident.

"We have asked the Ghanaian government to investigate the issue so that innocent Chinese are not shot dead by the police," he said.

Illegal mining is a growing problem in Africa.

South Africa has created a task force to seal access points to mines in an attempt to cut the growth of illegal mining in the country.

“Illegal mining is starting to rear its ugly head again as illicit activities have recently been reported in the Northern Cape, Free State and Gauteng,” South African mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu said.

She went on to say that illegal mining has previously been estimated to cost the country around 5 billion Rand ($612 million).

Illegal mining is a serious problem in Africa, with many closed or disused miners accessed by these illegal miners and operated in unsafe conditions, during which they are often injured, and are known to cause mine collapse.

It came after 27 illegal miners had to be rescued after their underground mine collapsed.

In South America Colombia has slated illegal mining as more of a threat to the nation's security than cocaine.

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