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China says 90 citizens detained in Ghana for illegal mining

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The Chinese government says 90 of its citizens are in detention in Ghana on suspicion of engaging in illegal gold mining in the country.

The government issued a statement saying one of those being held has died.

The China Foreign Ministry which issued the statement also indicates that it has expressed ‘serious concern to the Ghana government over the death and the detention’.

Local news has documented incidents of Chinese citizens involved in illegal gold mining activities in Ghana. Illegal mining, known in Ghana as ‘galamsey’ is rampant in some mining communities and a major problem to established mining companies.

Meanwhile, in September 2012, 38 Chinese were arrested and deported to China after they were caught allegedly involving in mining gold illegally.

The exact population of Chinese citizens in Ghana is unknown. A report by the Daily Graphic newspaper in July 2012 citing officials says records at the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) indicate that there are 607 Chinese with work and resident permits in the country.

Out of  the number, it says 75 are in the mining industry, 197 in the oil, gas and energy industry, while the rest are in other sectors.

However, citing a source at the Chinese Embassy in Accra, the newspaper says the number of Chinese in the country is in the thousands.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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