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1,072 Chinese gold miners return from Ghana


08:26, June 14, 2013

NANNING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,072 Chinese people working as gold miners in Ghana have returned to their homes in Shanglin County of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the county government said Thursday night.

The Ghanaian government launched a crackdown on illegal mining in early June, arresting 169 Chinese workers. After consultations between officials of the two countries, the Chinese detainees were released.

A number of Shanglin natives were among those arrested by Ghanian authorities on charges of illegal mining.

A statement from the Shanglin government quoted an unnamed spokesman as saying that the "gold rush" started in 2006. It cited estimates that around 12,000 Shanglin natives have engaged in gold mining in Ghana to date.

"Even if they paid me 50,000 yuan a month, I would not go there again," said a villager surnamed Yang from Tanglong Village, Mingliang Township, who returned from Ghana on Sunday. (50,000 yuan is equal to about 8,115 U.S. dollars.)

Inspired by stories of fast fortunes, Yang went to Ghana and worked at a Chinese gold mine as an equipment guard. He earned a monthly salary of 4,000 yuan, far exceeding what he would have made planting paddy rice back home.

Yang heard about the Ghanian government's crackdown and quickly returned home with 24 of his peers.

"Ghana is chaotic. I just want to lead a stable life at home," he said.

Though he suffered huge losses in Ghana, a villager from Dafeng Township surnamed Wei, 28, said he was grateful to have returned home.

Wei went to Ghana as a hook machine operator and earned more than 10,000 yuan a month. Hoping make more money, he and a friend invested 500,000 yuan in a gold mine, but they encountered the Ghanian government's crackdown on illegal mining before turning a profit.

He could not find buyers for his machines in time, so he left them in Ghana and caught a flight home.

Wei called on local villagers to be rational when working overseas. They should take the customs, laws and social security in foreign lands into account.

A Chinese joint work team of personnel from the Chinese ministries of foreign affairs, commerce and public security arrived in Ghana on Tuesday. The team is discussing issues linked to Chinese nationals in the crackdown on illegal gold mining with their Ghanian counterparts.

A work team from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also arrived in Ghana on Tuesday to assist the embassy in evacuating Chinese nationals.

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