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Ghanaian police have arrested 124 Chinese citizens over suspicions that they are involved in illegal gold mining activities. Last month John Dramani Mahama, the president of Ghana, formed a governmental committee with the sole purpose of cracking down on illegal mining within the country.
The illegal miners were arrested in the capital city of Accra, and the Guardian reports that many will likely face deportation.
Ghana is Africa’s second largest gold producer, and in an effort to protect local jobs and ensure more profits are kept within the country to boost the economy, foreigners have been forbidden from working in any small scale mines since the 1980s.
But as China’s influence and presence in Africa continues to grow, Ghanaians have begun to complain that Chinese mining companies are taking local jobs, and polluting lakes and rivers.
Brigadier General Daniel Mishio, the chairman of Ghana’s national security commission for land and natural resources, spoke to the Guardian in April and said that “in certain areas, people don't even get clean drinking water, and in some areas you can see that most of the forest cover has been destroyed.”
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Yu Jie, the spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Ghana, has warned Chinese citizens to strictly abide to the laws and regulations in Ghana, even going as far as to support the local officials in maintaining a strong discipline when enforcing laws.
Since 2005 more than 50,000 Chinese citizens have travelled to Ghana to work in the gold mining industry, with more than 65% coming from the poor county of Shanglin in southern Guangxi province.
Wen Daijin, a villager from Shanglin, told the South China Morning Post that “many borrow money from local banks and relatives to go there. In my township, only men with physical problems don't have plans to go to Ghana.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com