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No Justice for Chinese ‘Galamseyers’ due to Lack of Interpreters

In recent times the mining sector has almost been taken over by Chinese miners. Conservative sources say about 50,000 Chinese miners have flocked to Ghana over the past decade and have been illegally mining gold.

The Deputy Greater Accra Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, George Agbenowoshi, has revealed that the prosecution of Chinese nationals involved in illegal mining (galamsey) is unsuccessful because of the unavailability of Chinese interpreters.

At a ceremony in Parliament marking the 2024 Green Ghana Day, Mr. Agbenowoshi said that the lack of interpreters poses a challenge in the prosecution of Chinese galamseyers.

“We have the challenge of timely release of funds for forestry-related activities including plantation activities in our sector and issues sent to court have been there for years without redress. Issues of mining activities involving Chinese that take an interpreter to translate are often thrown out of court as a result of the lack of an interpreter,” Mr. Agbenowoshi said.

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In addition, he stressed the lack of logistics, such as pickup vehicles and motorbikes, hinders efforts to combat forest offences, including illegal mining, farming, and logging.

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“Logistics such as pickup vehicles and motorbikes for our field operations and activities at the various district stations are challenging and that makes it difficult to fight forest offences in our forest reserves. These offences include illegal mining activities, illegal farming, bushfires, illegal lumbering, illegal logging and chainsaw activities across the country,” he said.


In recent times the mining sector has almost been taken over by Chinese miners. Conservative sources say about 50,000 Chinese miners have flocked to Ghana over the past decade and have been illegally mining gold.

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According to research, two main reasons explain the influx of Chinese miners in Ghana. First, China’s economic liberalization led many Chinese migrant workers to come to Africa to work in a range of industries. With its ample unprotected gold reserves, Ghana proved attractive to Chinese gold diggers.

Second, the majority of the Chinese miners in Ghana come from the Guangxi autonomous region in China, a region with a long history of gold mining and expertise in advanced mining techniques.

Addy and Adikhari argue that the lack of government success in curbing galamsey is due to a variety of reasons, the key among them being the corruption of government officials and heavy-handed crackdowns by the security forces. Other reasons include a weak judicial infrastructure and complicit local populations that directly benefit from illegal mining.

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