Hundreds of miners have died in Ghana, Africa's second gold producer after South Africa, as a direct consequence of poor safety conditions at illegal operations, the country’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, said Thursday.
According to The Chronicle, the authority also blamed the increased involvement of foreign companies bringing undocumented immigrants to the country and highlighted that between 2011 and 2012 alone there were over 300 illegal mining-related deaths reported.
Illicit mining in Ghana has become a major problem over the past few months, with an estimated 10,000 immigrants —most of them Chinese— engaged in such activities and it has risen concerns about the environmental impact of that kind of mining.
Late last month over 120 Chinese nationals were arrested and are now facing deportation for possessing fake entry permits and engaging in illegal extraction of gold.
Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has since then launched an internal inquiry into allegations that some of its officers have received bribes in exchange for work permits.
(Image by Mohammed llyas)