Ghana repatriates 80 Chinese illegal miners

Chinese_workersThe Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has repatriated 80 Chinese since March, 2013 for indulging in small-scale mining and possessing improper immigration documentation.

Seventy-five other Chinese were scheduled to appear before the Accra High Court yesterday on similar charges.

The Head of Public Affairs of the GIS, Mr Francis Palmdeti, told the Daily Graphic that those repatriated included nine workers of Hansol Mining Company, each of whom was slapped with a fine of GH¢2,000.

Hansol Mining Company, a registered small-scale mining company, is well known for employing Chinese.

The Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) prohibits foreigners from engaging in small-scale mining in the country.

The act provides, in Section 83(a), that: “A licence for small-scale mining operation shall not be granted to a person unless that person is a citizen of Ghana.”

However, some foreigners, with the help of local collaborators, have invaded the small-scale mining industry, in contravention of the law.

Aided by excavators, bulldozers and other sophisticated equipment, the activities of the foreign illegal miners have led to wanton destruction of the environment, particularly farmlands and water bodies.

Some of them have even gone to the extent of shooting and killing local people who cross their paths and extract gold by any means necessary.

The latest display of such impunity by foreign illegal miners occurred in Obuasi last Wednesday, when a group of Chinese small-scale miners were alleged to have shot and killed two Ghanaians over a disputed land at Mamiriwa, a village near Obuasi.

Following public outcry against the activities of the foreign illegal miners, the GIS, in collaboration with some security agencies, undertook an operation last March, to swoop on the operational sites of the foreign illegal miners.

The operation led to the arrest of 125 Chinese, with many more arrests being made in subsequent operations.

Mr Palmdeti said after the court had determined the case involving the 75 Chinese illegal miners, their fate in respect of repatriation or any other sanction would be determined.

When asked what action the GIS was likely to take against the Chinese illegal miners alleged to have shot and killed the two Ghanaians in Obuasi, he said the police were currently investigating the criminal aspect of the case.

He said after the police investigation, the GIS could then investigate other issues pertaining to the immigration status of the suspects.

Source: Daily Graphic

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