Accra – Some Chinese involved in illegal small scale mining are to be deported after their arrest in southern Ghana over the past several weeks, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) announced on Monday.
Francis Palmdeti, the Head of Public Relations of the GIS, who made this known while fielding questions from journalists said the Chinese had “voluntarily” opted to be repatriated.
A task force set up by President John Dramani Mahama had been arresting foreign nationals involved in illegal small-scale mining in the Central, Western, Eastern and Ashanti regions over the past several weeks.
They include Chinese, Italians and Niger nationals.
Palmdeti said the Chinese, who were at the GIS, would be screened before being deported. The Chinese embassy last week complained of the arrests.
The Ghanaian authorities have been concerned about the increase in activities of small-scale miners that had degraded the environment and polluted water bodies.
Illegal miners pollute rivers with the use of chemicals such as mercury used in recovering the gold.
There has been an invasion of the area by foreigners, especially Chinese, who use heavy earth moving equipment in their operations.
The government has called for swift and decisive action against illegal mining, which is rampant in gold and diamonds.
Some of the illegal miners encroach on concessions of registered mining companies.
Illegal mining has also led to deaths of illegal miners in pits that collapsed on them or are flooded by rains. (PANA/NAN)