Ghana: Why are the Chinese miners here?

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Ghana has sold its soul to China, said Alex Bossman Baafi. Small-scale gold-mining permits are reserved by law for native-born Ghanaians only. Yet Chinese immigrants are operating illegal gold mines all over the country, with expensive machinery and guards armed with illegal guns. These miners hurt the environment by razing our forests and dumping toxic mining by-products like cyanide into our lakes and rivers. Just as bad, they corrupt our society and our government by paying off the police and local chiefs. Clashes between Ghanaians and immigrants are frequent, and they’re growing more and more serious.

Last week, two Ghanaians were shot dead and several injured after confronting some Chinese who had “trespassed on their concession.” Yet our government, desperately dependent on a $3 billion loan from China, won’t throw these people out. Chinese nationals are practically above the law in our country, “no matter what they do.” Chinese businessmen now control much of the retail sector, leaving local vendors without work. It’s the latest chapter in Ghana’s sad colonial history: “We have more often than not relied heavily on foreigners” to develop our land and determine our future, and “these foreigners take our people for a ride.”