Illegal miner exodus: thousands of Chinese leave Ghana

Over 4,500 illegal Chinese miners have left Ghana since June, as the Ghanaian government continues its crackdown.

Earlier in June, Ghanaian police seized 124 illegal miners, sending the majority back to China. This and other round-ups, coordinated by police, military and immigration officials, have prompted thousands of Chinese workers to voluntarily pack up and leave, according to Ghana Immigration spokesman Francis Palmdeti.

The government taskforce has also detained citizens of Russia, Nigeria and Niger as part of the crackdown.

Only a month ago it was estimated that 50,000 illegal Chinese gold prospectors were operating in Ghana. The Chinese 'gold rush' in Ghana began in 2005 and, "at its peak, several thousand small gold mines were run by Chinese, who formed partnerships with local owners."

In May the Ghanaian president said that illegal mining was costing the country millions of dollars in lost revenue due to environmental degradation.