Taskforce meets Chinese delegation over illegal mining

Alhaji Inusah Fuseni - Minister for Lands and Natural Resources
Alhaji Inusah Fuseni – Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

A 14-member delegation from the Guangxi province in China yesterday held a closed-door meeting with the inter-ministerial task force set up by President John Dramani Mahama to deal with illegal small scale mining (galamsey) in the country.

The meeting aimed at finding a solution to the problem of a high number of Chinese nationals operating illegally in the small-scale mining sector in Ghana.

The delegation from Guangxi, where majority of the illegal Chinese miners hail from, had requested the meeting with the task force.

Present at the event included the Chairman of the task force and Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini; the Minister of Defence, Mr Mark Woyongo; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah Tetteh; the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, and the two Deputy Ministers of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Yaw Berfi and Ms Barbara Serwaa Asamoah.

The Chinese delegation was led by the Director-General of the Guangxi Foreign Affairs Office, Mr Song Hai Jun.

Ghana’s laws prohibit foreign nationals from engaging in small-scale mining. But over the past couple of months, some Chinese nationals have been found to be actively engaged in the small-scale mining business.

Apart from causing destruction to the environment and water bodies, some Chinese have  shot dead some Ghanaians.  In one such attack, on May 9, 2013, two Ghanaians were shot dead by some Chinese nationals over a disputed land at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region.

Before going into the meeting, Alhaji Fuseini told the Chinese delegation that the country had witnessed an influx of Chinese into the mining areas, and that their involvement in illegal mining had raised issues of national concern.

The task force, he said, was, therefore, set up to introduce some sanity into the small-scale mining sector.

He explained that the mandate of the task force was not directed exclusively at the Chinese nationals but all other foreigners in the small-scale mining business.

“The laws of this country prohibit any non-national from engaging in small-scale mining activity, so the mandate of the task force is to ensure that non-Ghanaians in the small-scale mining sector are flushed out,” Alhaji Fuseini explained further.

Alhaji Fuseini said the activities of the Chinese, which resulted in the pollution of water bodies and the degradation of the environment, constituted a national security threat, and that “as if that was not bad enough they have also engaged in the shooting of Ghanaians”.

The minister pointed out that the diplomatic relationship between the two countries needed to be mutually beneficial, adding that although there were many Chinese nationals, for instance, working legally in the roads sector, what was worrying was the illegal Chinese presence in small-scale mining sites.

“This is an affront to the laws of the country. As a government we have a duty to uphold and protect the laws of this country,” Alhaji Fuseini told the delegation.

In his earlier remarks, Mr Song expressed the hope that the meeting would be fruitful, adding that “Ghana is a great friend of China”.

Among others, the task force on illegal small-scale mining is mandated to ensure that laws on small-scale mining are fully enforced.

It is also empowered to arrest and prosecute anybody, both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, involved in small-scale illegal mining and deport all non-Ghanaians involved in the practice.

Source: Daily Graphic

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.