Chinese citizens in Ghana are engaging in illegal mining activities, destroying fertile farmlands and water bodies in many parts of the country. Since 2012, the numbers of Chinese in Ghana have increased significantly and most of them enter the country without permit with the help of corrupt security officials at the entry points of the country. The Ghana Immigration Service has said that there are more than 3,000 Chinese in Ghana with resident permits. However, the number of Chinese engaged in illegal gold mining activities is unclear, since none of them have been registered. Ghana’s law stipulates that no foreigner should engage in Small Scale Mining but the Chinese have continued to violate the law with impunity with the help of local residents in areas where the precious metal is located. According to reports in the mining areas, the locals have offered the Chinese shelters within the community as part of a strategy to outwit law enforcement agencies by pretending that they are in charge of the mining activities.
The Chinese who are very well equipped with tools and equipments for the mining then take advantage and use their heavy machines and deadly chemicals to mine for the gold, destroying the environment in the process. A lawmaker representing one of the constituencies where this conspiracy takes place- Joe Osei Owusu told the Ghanaian Parliament that the situation is alarming and that government needs to intensify public education in the area to let local residents know the repercussions. ``Government needs to take action now to avoid the situation where our water bodies and farmlands would be completely destroyed by the activities of the Chinese. An effective public education to residents to let them know the danger involved and gathering of intelligence by the security services to arrest any local resident who conspire with the Chinese would help solve the problem’’, he said. But a member of the Small Scale Miners Association of Ghana- Eric Kofi Rivers argued the laws on small scale mining should be review by lawmakers to criminalize foreigners who provided assistance to indigenous people to carry out mining activities. “If a foreigner has mining equipment and a small scale miner helps him, there is no law in this country which is against that the mining law doesn’t tell anybody that if you have a mining equipment don’t help anybody,” he told Star Fm in Accra.
Last year, security officials arrested many Chinese who were engaging in illegal mining. Many were deported. Independent observers have said that the Chinese’s invasion of the country is due to some agreement the Ghanaian government has signed with the Chinese government. But the Chinese government in Beijing has said through its representative in Ghana that the fact that Ghana and China have sign many agreement in partnership is not a licensing for any Chinese citizen to break the laws of Ghana. Ghana was known as the Gold Coast before gaining independence in 1957. Since then the Gold has been one of the backbones of the country’s economy.