The government of Ghana has in recent times adopted a radical approach in dealing with illegal miners, especially the Chinese.
Currently, the army has been tasked to patrol the major waters and forest areas to clamp down on these people. Their duty is to find and destroy excavators and other machines being used by the miners. They also arrest anyone found engaging in the practice.
In a recent patrol by the army, a group of Chinese illegal miners were arrested deep in the forest. They set up plants with which they wash the produce and pour the waste together with chemicals into a nearby freshwater, changing the color of the water to brown.
The government’s decision was informed by the extent to which the activities of these miners deplete the country’s forest reserves, pollute water bodies which provide drinking water to some communities, cause financial loss to the country and also pose health threats to residents who depend on these waters for survival.
Credible Ghanaian media outlets reported earlier that, a medical facility called the Sewum Health Centre in the Aowin District of the Western North region which is predominated by illegal mining activities has been recording a high number of newborn babies without some vital body parts such as the nose, eyes, ears and mouth. A research conducted proved that the occurrence is due to the fact that pregnant women in this area drink waters which are contaminated by chemicals used in mining.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Shi Ting Wang holds a contrary view when it comes to the involvement of his people in the act. According to him, Chinese have no idea where Gold is located in Ghana, insisting that they are aided by the locals.
“We don’t know where your gold is. We don’t issue visas too for the Chinese people coming to Ghana. Ghanaians issue the visas…Ghanaians aid the Chinese to where they can find your gold.” the ambassador said.
He added that, “why are Chinese not doing illegal mining in South Africa where there is also a lot of gold…because they cannot do that there and the locals don’t support such illegalities.”
It is important to note that, Chinese are not the only people engaging in illegal mining in Ghana. A considerable number of the locals equally practice this illegal activity. The only difference is that the Chinese miners use sophisticated machines and chemicals compared to the locals.