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General News of Saturday, 8 April 2017


Chinese Mission cautions Ghana over arrest of illegal miners

The Chinese Mission in Ghana has served a strong caution to the Government of Ghana that “it will be extremely harmful to the bilateral relations” between the two countries if there are reports of a casualty during the arrest of Chinese involved in illegal mining in Ghana.

The Mission said government must minimize the mass arrest of illegal miners and deal with culprits on individual basis.

“We think it is very important that any operation against illegal mining should be carried out in line with Ghanaian laws and international recognized norms, the mass arrest and media hype should be minimized, the cases should be dealt with on individual base and the legitimate rights of the miners should be respected,” it said.

The Mission argued that some of the Chinese illegal miners were also victims of fraud and blackmail hence their cases must be holistically looked at by government before taking action.

“Since a great part of Chinese nationals involved in illegal mining are also victims of fraud and blackmail, if casualties are incurred and plundering and looting take place during operation, it will be extremely harmful to the bilateral relations,” it said.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, the Mission chastised the media for its coverage on illegal mining in the country, accusing it of being biase and defaming Chinese leaders.

“There are a number of distorted or biased reports and stories on Chinese people, especially some reports and cartoons that are defaming Chinese leaders and senior officials.

The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency. We hope that the Ghanaian government will pay due attention to this situation, take the necessary action to stop such things from happening again and guide the media to give an objective coverage on the illegal mining issue so as to create a good environment for further development of our bilateral exchanges and cooperation,” the letter said.

Campaigns against illegal mining in the country have in the last few months intensified with Citi FM championing a #StopGalamseyNow campaign that is gaining momentum, rallying various stakeholders to address the menace which has left devastating effects on the country’s environment.

Evidence from media reports and CSOs, including police Evidence from media reports and CSOs, including police arrests, suggest the high involvement of Chinese in the activities, but according to the Chinese mission in the country, its [Chinese] government attaches great important to the illegal mining issue and is firmly against the involvement of Chinese in illegal mining in Ghana.

The mission has further directed the government to furnish it with information on the identity of all Chinese illegal miners and their repatriation information because “this will greatly elevate the mutual trust on both sides and help improve the Chinese side’s work of source control and education campaign.”

It also urged the Minerals Commission to ensure transparency in the approval of mining and prospective mining permits to boost the confidence of Chinese enterprises in the country in gaining permits for their operations.