Ghana arrested 1,568 foreigners and 51 nationals since June 1 in a bid to end illegal mining in Africa’s second-biggest gold producer.
As many as 3,877 foreigners have been deported, including those who volunteered for repatriation, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Inusah Fuseini told reporters today in the capital, Accra. He didn’t disclose their nationalities. President John Dramani Mahama formed a task force on unlawful mining in May with the power to arrest illegal operators.
Ghana’s mining laws forbid foreigners from small-scale mining, Fuseini said, while Ghanaians must obtain licenses to do so.
“The resolve of the inter-ministerial task force to clean out the small-scale mining sector is unwavering,” Fuseini said. “We will pursue all violators of our mining laws.”
The minister said that lead, copper and zinc have been discovered at Buem in the Nkwanta area of the country’s Volta Region. Investigations are under way to determine their commercial viability, he said.
Besides gold, diamonds, manganese and bauxite are also mined in the country. Miners include Johannesburg-based AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and GreenWood Village, Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp.