Ghana, China collaborate to fight illegal mining

galamseyGhana and China have resolved to establish a high-powered working committee to review circumstances leading to the influx of illegal Chinese miners to Ghana.

The committee is also expected to bring up an integrated roadmap to stop the influx.

Representatives from the Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources, Interior, Local Government & Rural Development, Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs and Environment, Science & Technology as well as the Chinese Embassy, Minerals Commission, National Security and Ghana Immigration Service, will constitute the committee.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources said the decision was arrived at a high level meeting between Ghana and China.

The statement, which was signed by the Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Mr Charles Wireko, said the meeting was held at the behest of President John Dramani Mahama and that it provided a platform for senior government officials to explore a holistic and lasting solution to the influx of illegal Chinese miners and address issues arising from the recent incarceration of Chinese nationals for illegal mining in Ghana.

It said Alhaji Inusah Fuseini,(MP) Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who was the leader of the Ghanaian team, chaired the meeting while Mr Cui Aimin, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign  Affairs,  led the Chinese delegation.

It said the Committee was tasked to bring up information which would assist both governments to work effectively to stop the influx and explore appropriate mechanisms to promote the mining industry as one of the key areas for co-operation to enhance Ghana-China relations.

The statement said Alhaji Fuseini acknowledged the excellent and long-standing ties between the two countries and cautioned that Ghana would not allow a few bad elements to derail or negate the huge investment made by both countries into growing Ghana-China relations.

On the manhandling of Chinese detainees, it said Alhaji Fuseini intimated that Ghana’s commitment to the fundamental human rights is evidenced by the release of 19 of the Chinese detainees for medical attention.

It said Alhaji Fuseini described the use of arms by some illegal Chinese miners to protect their activities as an unacceptable practice which posed a grave national security challenge for the nation and stressed that the government’s security apparatus would take the necessary action to clamp down on this practice to safeguard public peace.

The statement said Alhaji Fuseini pointed out that the small scale mining sector was reserved for only Ghanaians as stipulated by the Minerals & Mining Act 2006 and warned that licence of artisanal operators who engaged Chinese nationals or other foreign nationals in their mining operations would be withdrawn while both Chinese illegal miners and their Ghanaian collaborators would be made to face the full rigorous of the law.

It said the Minister described the escalating cost of treating polluted water bodies for the use of local communities and reclamation of lands degraded by activities of illegal miners as well as the huge resources required by national security agencies to flush out those operators as a colossal drain on the nation’s resources.

According to the statement, Mr Cui re-affirmed the growing Ghana-China relations and cited landmark projects such as the construction of the Ghana Gas plant, Cape Coast Sports Complex, University of Ghana Medical Training School, among others,  as ample manifestations of  increased Chinese bilateral assistance to Ghana.

It said the Chinese envoy emphasised the need for the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to step up monitoring of all entry points to the country to ensure that Chinese without the requisite documents were not allowed into the country.

It said Mr Cui expressed the readiness of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security to assist its Ghanaian counterparts to stop criminal groups in Ghana from luring Chinese nationals into the country to engage in illegal mining.

Source: Daily Graphic

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