Police in the West African country of Ghana killed one Chinese citizen in a raid and detained more than 100 other Chinese on suspicion of illegal gold mining, according to a statement on the Chinese embassy’s website.
The person killed in the Oct. 11 raid was identified only by the surname Chen, according to the statement. He was a 16-year-old boy, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Ghanaian Interior Minister William Kwasi Aboah said the operation was conducted jointly by the military and police, and that the Chinese citizens “have immigration issues.” He spoke in a phone interview today.
Ghana has faced an influx of illegal small-scale miners from China as global gold prices climb. About 30 percent of Ghana’s total output is produced by an estimated 1 million miners who use shovels and picks, according to the Chamber of Mines, which has asked the government to tighten industry regulation.
Gold has risen more than 11 percent this year and was trading at 1,745.70 an ounce by 11:32 a.m. in London, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Ghana is Africa’s second-biggest gold producer after South Africa and companies that operate in the country include U.S.- based Newmont Mining Corp., South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Johannesburg-based Gold Fields Ltd. Foreigners are barred from participating in small-scale mining in Ghana. They are only permitted to offer supporting goods and services.
“We demand the Ghanaian side investigate the case and punish the perpetrators as soon as possible and inform the Chinese side of relevant information about the investigation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a briefing in Beijing today.
Chinese ambassador Gong Jianzhong, who met with Ghanaian officials, called for compensation to the family of the victim, according to the embassy statement.
Ghana’s inspector-general of police set up a committee in August with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission to investigate illegal mining. About 20 Chinese miners arrested without residential and work permits will be tried soon, said Frank Koffi, operations director of the Criminal Investigation Department. Thirty-eight were deported last month, according to a Sept. 30 Chinese embassy statement.