Ghana cracks down on Chinese miners

A small-scale mining site once mined by Chinese miners in Dunkwa-on-Offin in the center of Ghana. Photo: AFP

By He Huifeng
South China Morning Post 

When Su Zhenyu arrived in Ghana in 1995 to live his African dream, there were barely 100 Chinese people in the small, resource-rich country.

In the 18 years since, the 42-year-old Guangxi native has made a living in many different ways, including translator, casino manager, salesman and even as powerbroker between Beijing and Ghana’s gold miners.

Su has witnessed the growth of Ghana’s Chinese population from less than 100 to tens of thousands in recent years as immigrants poured into the country in search of gold.

And now he is witnessing the explosion of tension and violence between the Chinese immigrants —  most of whom are involved in illegal gold mining — and the locals.

The Ghanaian government launched a campaign last year to fight illegal mining.

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Chinese miners on the run in Ghana

By Adam Nossiter and Yiting Sun
The New York Times 

DAKAR, Senegal — The lucky ones have hidden out on cocoa farms and in Chinese-owned companies, surviving on yams and water, moving about constantly and trembling at the prospect of being discovered by Ghana’s security forces. The unlucky ones have been beaten, robbed and swept up by soldiers.

A dream of wealth in a far-off land has been turned on its head for hundreds of Chinese gold miners in Ghana. At least 169 of them were rounded up by the government this month, accused of sneaking into the country and overstaying visas to illegally mine one of Africa’s richest gold fields.

“We have no food, no water, no sleep,” a Chinese migrant said as she hid from the government on a cocoa farm late last week, adding that more than 100 others were there too, fearing arrest. Now the group has fled again, she said, hoping to make it safely back home. “Everyone is scrambling for a way to go back to China.”

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Influx of Chinese goldminers in Ghana

Illegal small-scale mines in Ghana are an opportunity for poor Chinese immigrants, but are blamed for environmental destruction

By Afua Hirsch
The Guardian (UK)

Miner Li Zengquan holds gold block weighing 700 grams in a mine in Kumasi, Ghana

Huang Ren Zhong’s striped parasol stands out against the muddy cliff of excavated earth. The horizon is fringed with the tall trees of the Ghanaian rainforest, but for Huang, this dilapidated shelter is his only shade from the sweltering tropical sun. He and his other Chinese colleagues take turns to sit under it, overseeing the digging and churning of the murky water beneath them, where they are mining a huge pit for gold.

Two years ago Huang, 40, left his tea farm in China’s Guangzhu province to seek riches here in west Africa. Since then his work has been hot and arduous, and at times dangerous but, by his standards, the rewards are great. Huang says he makes about 4,000 yuan — about £420 — per month. His salary is paid straight to his family in China, with the money he needs to live deducted first.

“The work is difficult. [But] I came here to make money,” said Huang. “In China I was average, or poor. To have the opportunity to travel abroad [and] make more money is fantastic.”

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