Illegal Chinese miners caught in Ghana to be deported next week

Over 160 illegal Chinese gold mine workers and prospectors arrested in Ghana since June 1 will be deported next week, with no criminal charges, a spokesman for the country’s Immigration Service, told AFP.

Illegal mining by Chinese nationals has become an increasing source of contention and resentment for local Ghanaians, with disputes often turning into armed clashes and leading political figures raising pointed concerns.

The escalating tensions forced President John Dramani Mahama to launch a taskforce to crackdown on illegal mining last May in the wake of an accident at a gold mine in central Ghana, which left 17 miners dead.

It's estimated that 50,000 illegal Chinese gold prospectors are currently operating in Ghana, Africa's second gold producer after South Africa.

The Chinese 'gold rush' in the country began in 2005 and, "at its peak, several thousand small gold mines were run by Chinese, who formed partnerships with local owners."

(Image: Aljazeera’s documentary screen grab)