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41 Chinese arrested in Ghana

By Ling Yuhuan (Global Times)

08:35, August 28, 2012

Diplomats at the Chinese embassy in Ghana have visited a group of 41 Chinese nationals who had been detained for allegedly mining gold illegally in a series of crackdowns.

The campaign came amid escalating tensions between foreign miners and local residents in the second largest gold producer in Africa over environmental concerns and fears that an influx of foreign miners may steal local jobs.

The detained people were in good health, a consul surnamed Guo at the embassy told the Global Times. Their identities were not revealed.

Local police claimed that all of the Chinese nationals were arrested for illegal gold mining and didn't have legitimate work visas, residence permits, or mining permits, according to an online statement by the embassy.

Among the detained, 34 were arrested Monday last week within the mining concession of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) in the Obuasi and Amansie Central areas after local police raided illegal mining sites in the Ashanti Region, the Ghana-based Daily Guide said in an earlier report.

The group was taken to the capital city Accra for processing and investigation, the report said.

Bempong Marfo, the Ashanti regional security liaison officer, told the Ghana-based Daily Guide the crackdowns follow rampant illegal mining activities and were not targeted at any particular foreign country.

Alan Fine, a public affairs manager at AGA, told the Global Times on Sunday that the company was aware of the illegal mining in that concession, and had earlier reported it to the authorities.

"In this particular case, the people had quite large machinery that they were using to carry out the mining, which obviously has a large impact."

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