Over the past year, MINING.com has kept a close eye on illegal Chinese gold mining in Ghana. At its peak, an estimated 50,000 Chinese miners were operating illegally in the country. Ghanaian officials admitted that "the scale [of the illegal mining] is so vast, it is actually difficult to quantify."
In May the government created a taskforce as part of a crackdown that has found some recent success, but the problems, including damage to local agriculture and water supplies, cultural tensions and, at times, violence, still weigh heavily on Ghanaian society.
In April of this year, the Guardian newspaper sent reporter Afua Hirsch to document the situation. Here's what she found: