Ghana deports 100 Chinese illegal mining
07 June 2013, 15:56
Accra - About 100 Chinese citizens arrested in Ghana for
illegal mining will be deported next week but they will not face criminal
charges, an immigration official said on Friday.
The arrests have been carried out since June 1 across the
west African country and particularly in the central Ashanti region, a major
gold mining hub.
"I believe by the middle of next week we should have
repatriated them," Michael Amoako-Atta, a spokesperson at the Ghana
Immigration Service told AFP.
He added that some of the detained Chinese nationals were to
be presented at a magistrates court in Accra on Friday, where authorities would
seek permission to hold them in custody until they are sent home.
The group is currently being kept in a series of holding
cells at an immigration building in Ghana's capital.
The arrests came a month after President John Dramani Mahama
launched a taskforce to crackdown on illegal mining.
Ghana is Africa's second biggest gold exporter, behind South
Africa, but the sector has long been plagued by unregulated activities.
Many Chinese are involved in small-scale mining, often
crossing illegally from neighbouring countries to work on concessions. Ghanaian
law prohibits foreigners from engaging in small-scale mining.
Known as "galamsey", illegal mining is blamed for
exacerbating land conflicts, causing runoff that pollutes water supplies and
putting miners at risk of injury.
A collapse at a gold mine in central Ghana that was being
excavated in April killed 17 people.