Ghana’s Gold Sparks Conflict With Illegal Chinese Miners

Ghana Gold Rush When a patch of land on the edge of Nweneso No. 1 village was bought by a Ghanaian who said he wanted to search for gold, few residents objected. Then dozens of Chinese moved in with excavators, wrecking farmland and turning the local stream into a trickle of mud.

“The Chinese destroyed our land and our river, they are sitting there with pick-ups and guns, plenty of guns,” Maxwell Owusu, acting chief of the village in the central Ashanti region, said last month. “They operate big machines and it makes it very difficult to reclaim the land for farming when they are done.”

As global gold prices climb amid economic uncertainty inEurope, Ghana is facing an influx of illegal small-scale miners from China using machinery villagers say they can’t afford. The operations are raising concern over environmental damage inAfrica’s second-biggest gold producer and sparking anger among Ghanaians who say they sold their farmland without knowing Chinese gold miners would move into camps nearby.

When the Chinese miners are preparing to depart to sell their gold in Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, they fire their weapons into the air to ward off potential highway robbers, Owusu said.

The inspector-general of police set up a committee in August with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission to investigate illegal mining. About 20 Chinese miners arrested without residential and work permits will be tried soon, said Frank Koffi, operations director of the Criminal Investigation Department. Thirty-eight were deported last month, China’s embassy in Ghana said in a statement on its website dated Sept. 30.


Bloomberg has the full article

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