Illegal Mining: 269 Chinese, Nigerians Deported.
Two hundred and sixty-nine foreigners who were arrested by the Inter Ministerial Task Force Against Illegal Small-scale Mining for alleged illegal mining have so far been deported.
The illegal miners, who comprised 218 Chinese and 51 Nigerians, were deported to their respective countries with the support and consent of their embassies in Ghana.
A statement signed by the Head of Public Affairs of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Mr Francis Palmdeti, said in the case of the Nigeriens, their embassy provided a bus to convey them to Niamey, while the Chinese Embassy assisted with the procurement of tickets for some of their nationals.
The GIS statement said the service continued to have good working relations with foreign missions in Ghana and advised foreigners residing in the country to register or relate with their respective embassies for information or clarification on issues concerning investments and immigration in Ghana.
It urged prospective investors to conduct due diligence about investment opportunities in Ghana to acquaint themselves with sectors of the economy opened to foreign participation.
Illegal small-scale mining has become worrying to the Ghana government. As part of effort to check the phenomenon, President John Dramani Mahama set up an inter-ministerial task force which has arrested more than 200 foreigners engaged in illegal mining.
Reacting to allegations that the GIS officials were complicit in granting visas to most of the Chinese, Mr Palmdeti, in an interview, explained that some Chinese took their visas in Ghana because international rules permitted such people to do so if their places of residence were far away from the location of Ghana’s Embassy in China.
Some foreigners, he said, were also allowed to take visas in Ghana under certain emergency circumstances, such as those who work on oil rigs or on some government construction projects which were time bound.
The only exception to the rule of granting visas on arrival in Ghana were people on the wanted list of security agencies in Ghana, he said.
Regarding allegation of corruption against immigration officials at the nation’s entry points, Mr Palmdeti appealed to the public to assist the GIS to weed out those immigration officials who collected bribes.
Apparently concerned about the arrests and deportation of its nationals, the Chinese government sent down a delegation to hold discussions with the Ghana Government.
At a news conference in Accra on June 18, 2013, the delegation pledged its support for the Ghana Government’s action but called for a human face to the exercise.
The Chinese delegation, which had an aerial view and visited some mining sites and the rivers Pra and Offin, appreciated the degree of devastation illegal mining was causing to the environment.
By Daily Graphic