The Chinese embassy in Ghana has in a strongly worded letter to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, warned of dire consequences if the current clampdown on illegal Chinese miners continues.
According to the embassy, many of the Chinese nationals involved in galamsey are the victims of fraud and blackmail and as such the police needed to deal with cases on an individual bases.
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“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.”
“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.
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Chinese businessmen have been some of the major contributors of cash and equipment to the illegal mines. The mines have led to the pollution of many of Ghana’s rivers, raising concern about the access to potable water within the next decade.
The Chinese government is a major supporter of infrastructure expansion in Ghana. They have also helped build some ministries and a large water treatment plant.
With intensified media pressure on the Ghanaian government to clampdown on illegal mining, a diplomatic showdown between Ghana and the world’s second largest economy looks all but set to happen.