Chinese nationals in the Wassa Akropong district of the Western Region say the only role they play in the illegal small-scale mining in the area is to provide technical support to local miners.
They are therefore baffled by persistent claims in the media that Chinese are involved in illegal mining – an allegation left hanging loosely around their necks.
In an interview with Adom Fm’s Kofi Adomah, Anthony Chi Wangi, one of the men who has lived in Ghana for 10 years said, “Chinese don’t do galamsey.”
His comments come at a time many Chinese nationals in Ghana have been blamed for contributing significantly to the menace of popularly referred to as galamsey in Ghana.
Many of these foreigners are said to have pitched camp in the country’s mineral-rich regions and employed locals who use unacceptable methods to mine the mineral.
The illegal activity has resulted in the destruction of arable farmlands and the depletion and pollution of water bodies.
This has made it almost impossible for the Ghana Water Company to supply some of its treatment plants connected to these rivers with water for treatment.
A campaign by the Media Coalition Against Galmsey, designed to put pressure on the government to end to these illegal activities and save the country’s water bodies, has received massive support from ordinary citizens and civil society organisations.
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The Minerals Commission has suspended the issuance of small scale mining licenses. The Lands and Natural resources Minister, John Peter Amewu also issued a three-week ultimatum to all illegal miners to suspend their activities.
Many have also called for the Chinese to be repatriated to their country or be punished for their crimes since foreigners are not allowed to undertake small scale mining in Ghana.
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In a reaction, however, Anthony Chi Wangi said it is unfortunate that they are being blamed for the menace.
He said no Chinese individual is involved in illegal mining on their own.
“You cannot blame us for illegal mining. The Ghanaian people want to do small scale mining, but they do not have the money, so they come to us for technical support.
“So we come together and partner them and provide them with machines,” Anthony added.
For him, the Chinese’ interest is purely a business one. He said once the locals are able to pay for the services, they are ready to rent the machines to them and render the required technical expertise.
This he said, is the farthest they can go because, “If you don’t know me, how can I enter your house,” he queried.